Adrienne – Cyclist and volunteer

‘Since I have been coming, I now have the confidence to travel independently on my own, I have been to Sheffield town centre and London.’ 

Adrienne has been cycling with Sheffield Cycling 4 All (SC4A) since the end of April 2022, when we started our Brain injury cycling group, and has been coming weekly whenever she can. 14 times and counting. This group is part of our four ‘Condition specific cycling groups’ which are Visual impairment, Mental wellbeing, Brain injury, and Strokes. We started them in response to the fact that some people don’t identify as Disabled so didn’t feel that the pan-disability cycling sessions were for them. All of these sessions are at Hillsborough Park, Sheffield. 

Adrienne, aged 77, was born in Staffordshire and brought up in Devon. She moved around a lot for work and in 2005 moved to Sheffield. Adrienne enjoys the theatre and reading (currently reading an historical fiction about Jews in the second world war). She is also finishing off a jumper for her grandson (aged 2). 

Adriennes knitting
Adrienne’s knitting a jumper

‘I had a bleed on the brain in April 2015 and then got meningitis. It affected my memory, coordination, verbal skills, mood and resulted in neurological fatigue. 

I had a course of treatment in 2016 with Sheffield Community Brain Injury Rehabilitation Team (SCBIRT). It helped, and it put me back on a course of coping. 

During the COVID lockdowns, I became deeply depressed, anxious and lost muscle strength and confidence from not going out. 

After another course of treatment at SCBIRT the physio recommended cycling to build up my leg muscles again, which is how I heard about SC4A.’ 

Apart from cycling and exercising at home, Adrienne doesn’t do a lot of physical activities, and finds walking slow but this is improving and her ability to walk longer distances is improving. 

At SC4A cycling sessions Adrienne talks to the volunteers, other cyclists, and members of the public in the park. ‘I said hello to a man and his wife today and had a couple of minutes’ chat. It’s because I was on a trike and it’s a friendly park. People are interested in trikes’. Outside of cycling Adrienne will have 3 or 4 conversations a week with people.  

‘These sessions are definitely right for me because it gets me out. It helps me keep my muscles in trim. It gives me a reason to keep going. Specific session times motivate me to leave the house‘. 

If we weren’t running the Condition specific cycling group Adrienne said she would still come because the staff and volunteers are always welcoming. ‘It doesn’t make a difference which session I go to, but it is good to have a regular time to come’.  

Adrienne said that there had definitely been benefits from cycling, ‘It gives me a reason to come out. I wouldn’t come to the park otherwise. Regular cycling is good for my legs, and I can now go up to 4th gear*. And a chance to interact with people. I see a lot of people throughout the week but no proper interaction.’ 

‘Since I have been coming, I now have the confidence to travel independently I have been to Sheffield town centre and London. 

I discovered it wasn’t scary going out in the world after lockdown. I re-learnt I can still do things.’ 

This year Adrienne went on a cruise with her son to Norwegian Fjords and is already looking forward to planning another soon.  We spent an hour in the sun looking through her photos before cycling. It looked amazing. 

National Lottery Community Fund outcomes – 

  • Have you been moving easily and feeling healthy? – Yes 
  • Have you been able to cycle for long periods of time? – Yes 
  • Have you been actively engaged with the SC4A community? – Yes 
  • Have you felt more confident and good about yourself? – Yes 
  • From talking to others at cycling, have you heard about services that you can access? – No 
  • Have you been getting to know new people here? – Yes