Julius Vernon

Jules first came to visit Sheffield Cycling 4 All in April 2017 after an old friend, Caroline, suggested he come down to Hillsborough for a ride following an accident which resulted in multiple Disabilities.  

He soon signed up as a volunteer, helping to set up sessions and fit people with trikes, cycling with people and spreading the word about the group. He saw SC4A as a community which he was proud to be a part of. He was a great advocate for cycling and for the benefits that it brings. He once said,    

“Money can’t buy the wellbeing that I get out of this.” 

Jules always had time for everyone he met, and his warmth and kindness helped to make people feel welcome when they came cycling. He was always willing to do whatever needed doing in order to help out at cycling sessions and was incredibly enthusiastic about volunteering, 

“As soon as I came down I was hooked, absolutely – I said this is amazing, and I still feel the same now – It’s so rewarding just being down there”. 

“When I first came down to Sheffield Cycling 4 All I just immediately felt a sense of happiness and freedom – it was just so good for me and then actually being asked to volunteer was just incredible – once I started doing that it filled a gap in my life that i didn’t know was there”. 

“Because of my accident I owe the NHS so much and doing this for Disability Sheffield, it just makes total sense to me – it’s really, really helped my wellbeing coming down here”. 

Jules and Jamie on the MUGA
Jules and Jamie

When asked whether his involvement with Sheffield Cycling 4 All had increased his circle of friends, Jules said, 

“I’ve made new friends since being here, without a shadow of a doubt – it’s like a community – we’re all here for the same thing, that’s socialising, to get some exercise, and just to laugh and have fun” 

“It’s part of my social life I would say – it’s so nice making people smile – we’re all in it for the same thing and it’s such a good cause – It’s saved my life, it’s given me a purpose in life, and that’s quite a big deal. Everybody gets involved – it is like a big happy family who are out there for each other and to have a good time”. 

Caroline said “I have known Julius since he was 14, and when I spoke to him after his accident, I could tell he was in a rutt, the same as I had been, after my Brain injury. And am so very happy he came to try out Sheffield Cycling 4 All. He loved the people, and he often repeated, cycles are for hire. But love comes free“.

Sadly, Jules passed away in December 2022. We will miss his enthusiasm, his lovely smile, and his wicked sense of humour! 

I fall in love with cycling – Pamela’s story

Pamela, 59, was born & bred in Sheffield but has lived in Derbyshire, Eastbourne & Surrey before returning to & settling in Sheffield again.  

Pam B
Pam on her VanRaam midi trike

She is a Bible-believing Christian which makes a big impact on her life and interests. She is very involved in her local church and enjoys reading, writing, walking , and visiting historical places of interest.  

Growing up as the youngest in a large family, Pamela was always labeled as ‘the clumsy child’, she would have accidents virtually every day. It was not until she went to university as a mature student, that she was diagnosed with Dyspraxia & Dyslexia, and she realised why she had never felt confident or enjoyed sports or physical activity, including cycling!  

Pamela first heard about Sheffield Cycling 4 All (SC4A) on the local radio, she contacted SC4A via email and ended up borrowing the Di Blasi folding trike for several weeks, which allowed her to discover that it wasn’t the right Trike for her. She also borrowed a Pashley Tri 1 trike for several months. 

Pam says, 

‘Borrowing both trikes opened up a whole new world to me that I thought I would never be able to be a part of! I still get a little anxious when I have to cycle on the road, but overall it’s boosted my confidence no end. I really enjoy the feeling of freedom cycling gives me. I know it’s doing me good as exercise, but I also feel like I’ve achieved something useful at the end of a trail ride. I’m also starting to feel arthritis in my knees & hips, so I’m hoping that by cycling I’ll keep moving longer and slow down the progress of my arthritis, in fact, I don’t feel any knee or hip pain whilst cycling.’ 

Pam has now bought herself a very robust adult trike, a Vanraam midi with electric assist. She says, 

‘It has a brilliant electric motor that makes going up Sheffield hills a breeze! We’ve even changed our car so that it’s easier to take our trike out on various trails and my husband has also bought a new bike, [it’s] 40 years since he last rode one! It’s given us both a new lease of life, we go for a ride most weekends, sometimes local as I can now ride from home without being afraid I’ll be too tired to cycle up the hill back home. But mostly we go on trails, like Monsal and Tissington & we’ve even been around the Ladybower & Howden Damns, in the winter! When my husband retires, I’m sure that we’ll use our cycles even more! Most of our Christmas presents this year were cycling-related! 

I can honestly say that I would not have started cycling and enjoy it as much as I do, without the help and support that I got from SC4A. In fact, if I’d bought the initial trike I was interested in, I’d have probably tried it a few times, then simply left it in the garage collecting dust! 

I can’t thank SC4A enough for giving me the opportunity to fall in love with cycling, something I thought could never happen!’ 

For more information about borrowing one of our e-cycles for free, follow this link – https://www.sheffieldcycling4all.org/trike-loan/

Jenny’s Triride E-cycle loan experience. 

By Jenny, October 2022 

Thank you so much to Sheffield Cycling 4 All (SC4A) for loaning me the e-trike attachment and chair [Tribike Hybrid Plus). It’s been great to try it out. Here are some of the places I have tried out… 

Firstly there’s our trusty home Hillsborough Park! It was great to bring the dog and partner as I usually cycle with a carer on a side-by-side trike so it was great to be out as a family.

We also tried out Manvers lake to test a different terrain so that was nice and it wouldn’t have been accessible to me in my regular chair. 

I went to the Monsal Trail with my Dad and sister who I haven’t been able to get out with in a couple of years. I would definitely love to return here one day with other cyclists perhaps so I could go a bit faster and travel a bit further. We also made use of the cafe/pub as it’s thirsty work that cycling!

Then local again we got on the Trans Pennine trail. I tested out one of the motorbike bollards for size and could get through with pedals down but not up so may be tricky for someone whose hand pedals can’t be left in the down position and coast through.

All in all a nice mixture of places and great to be able to try them out as I would not have been able to easily without the trike attachment.

For more information about borrowing one of our e-cycles for free, follow this link – https://www.sheffieldcycling4all.org/trike-loan/

‘Once I got started, I realised I couldn’t stop’ – Jim

We first met Julian (Jim) McVittie, aged 63, at the beginning of 2021 when he enquired about our trike loan scheme. 

Born and raised in Sheffield, Jim has had numerous different jobs over the years, 

‘You name it and it’s probably been one of my trades, I’m 63 now and I’m still not too sure what I want to do!’ Amongst other things, Jim has been in the building trade, a driving instructor, and for the last 10 years, a self-employed chauffeur. 

When asked about his hobbies, Jim says that he took up bookbinding during the first lockdown which was fascinating and great fun, and… 

“Obviously cycling, which is your ‘fault’ because you got me back into it after 30-odd years of not being able to do it.” 

Over the years Jim has had many health issues, a lot to do with playing contact sports such as Rugby and Squash when he was younger, plus arthritis, which runs through his mother’s side of the family. He has had both knees replaced and says his spine is now in a bad condition. 

“I used to walk a lot, up and down the dales and the moors quite happily, but I haven’t been able to do that for a long time. When I was young (14 or 15) I used to cycle from Nether Edge to Froggatt Edge, I’d pick up a mate in Froggatt, we’d cycle to Little Longston and pick up another friend, and then we’d be out all day cycling around Derbyshire. We’d probably clock up 100 miles in a day not even thinking about it and then I’d cycle all the way back home. In those days we’d go out in the morning and as long as you got home by night-time and had tuppence for an emergency phone call, no one minded what you did. Then of course once I found motorbikes and then motorcars etc the bike went by the wayside, and I’ve not ridden a bike since then until last year.” 

“My balance is not great anymore, so a tricycle seemed a very good idea. I had already been looking at tricycles which is why it immediately caught my interest when the loan scheme came up on Facebook. So, I tried out the Van Raam [Easy Rider] and the rest is history.  It was just amazing, the ability for me to get to the Norfolk Arms from Bents Green where I live and then later, up to Burbage, it was brilliant, it was a revelation in many ways.” 

When asked about the benefits he has experienced since starting cycling again, Jim replied, 

“It’s got the knees working again, it’s strengthened my knee and leg muscles and the core muscles. Overall, it’s a good workout depending on how much effort you put in, but any effort, even a small amount, is better than no effort at all. And the more you do it the easier it becomes. The benefits physically are superb, but the benefits mentally are just getting out in the fresh air, it does you a world of good. There have been times when I’ve thought ‘I can’t be bothered’, but I have gone out and felt a lot better for it. It gets me out and about, and it gets me seeing places that I’ve not seen walking for a long time.  

Compared to when you’re driving, when your cycling, (particularly on the trike when you can slow down without worrying about falling off) you can look around.” 

After borrowing the loan trike for 3 months Jim had well and truly caught the cycling bug and it wasn’t long before he purchased his own Jorvick Mountain Trike. Asked about people’s reaction to seeing him on his trike, Jim said, 

“Adult tricycles are still a new concept to people. If I’m out people will often stop me and ask questions about the trike and kids tell me it’s cool, which I think means good! The more people that get involved at whatever level, the better it is. What you are doing by loaning out the trikes is great because that gets people initially started and of course, once I got started, I realised I couldn’t stop so I had to go and buy my own or I would have been back to square one.” 

When asked about recent memorable rides, Jim replied, 

“I did the virtual London Marathon on the trike. A friend of mine and his mate were doing it to raise money for support dogs in Sheffield. They wanted me to  

ride as a wingman, carrying bottles of water and bits and pieces. I did the whole 26 miles on the trike, all on one battery. It was good, and we raised £8000 so it was well worth doing.” 

Jim has lots of plans for the future, 

“I’m itching to get further afield; I want to be able to transport the trike out to Parsley Hay or the Tissington Trail or even further afield and that will happen because I’m in the process of changing my car so I can put a trike rack on it and then I can get out and go and explore the country.  

I’ve got a couple of Facebook groups that I’m a member of and next year I’m planning to go and meet up with some other members and go and cycle around their routes etc which should be fun.” 

As a result of his connection with SC4A, Jim will be training as a British Cycling ride leader in October and will become one of the first-ever trike cyclists to qualify as a ride leader.  He has been featured in several videos, one of which has over 12,000 views and a small community of appreciative people posting comments and questions. Jim hasn’t just rediscovered cycling (with all its benefits) he has embraced it and is sharing it far and wide! 

When asked what impact SC4A has had on him, Jim answered,  

“Yea, you’ve cost me £2500 to buy a flippin’ trike thank you very much!” 

For more information about our Trike loan scheme follow this link – https://www.sheffieldcycling4all.org/trike-loan/

It has given me a lifted outlook on life! – Irene

Irene is a 72-year-old female who lives alone in Sheffield. Irene attends Sheffield Cycling 4 All every Monday and Thursday. Irene rides a “Berkel bike” trike (Semi-Recumbent Tricycle), which uses your arms and legs to pedal. Irene loves this bike as she feels she’s working her whole body while feeling safe and solid on a low frame. 

Irene’s day to day life includes being very social and active. Her main responsibility at home is looking after her pet cat and she looks after herself independently. She lives in an older person’s community with really supportive neighbours. One of her close friends lives right opposite, who attends the cycling group with Irene. One of Irene’s biggest worries is losing her ability to walk. Although going out and meeting friends is something she enjoys, this can also be overwhelming and bring anxiety.  

One thing Irene said helps with her anxieties is going to the same or familiar places. This is part of why she loves cycling at Sheffield Cycling 4 All, as she goes every week to the same park and sees familiar, friendly faces and feels safe within the group. Another part of Irene’s life is coping with spinal injury which causes her to have poor balance. She said cycling was the way she dealt with this change in mobility stating, it improved her balance and strength and even made walking easier. 

Irene’s goal is now to purchase her own trike! She wants to go on a cycling holiday at her friend’s holiday home in the country and cycle around the countryside. She said coming to the cycling group has given her the support and confidence to do this which didn’t seem possible before. 

“It has given me a lifted outlook on life, helped me physically while being in a beautiful park” 

“Physical, mental and social…it helps all three!” 

Written by Grace Battye while on placement at Sport for Confidence and Sheffield Cycling 4 All in her 3rd year of an Occupational Therapy course at Sheffield Hallam University 2022.  

Irene 2
Irene and Samad on Berkel bike in Hillsbrough park

If you are interested in our cycling sessions, please email info@sheffieldcycling4all.org or contact 07565695296 or 07922183338

Chrissy finds cycling has helped to overcome life changing event.

Chrissy is 34 years old and recently had an acquired brain injury. He had two brain operations and spent 4 months in hospital. Chrissy was working as a joiner, getting on with everyday life so this event was unexpected and life changing for him.  

Chrissy was referred to the Sheffield Cycling 4 All by his community therapist to help with his ongoing brain injury rehabilitation. Sheffield Cycling 4 All is an inclusive trike cycling group run by Disability Sheffield. The therapist attended the first two cycling sessions with him and now he travels to the sessions and attends independently twice a week and rides a trike.  

Chrissy reported the cycling is fantastic. Despite cycling helping to improve the mobility in his left leg, the biggest outcome is the confidence boost cycling has given him. Chrissy said attending the cycling group has given him the confidence to get around and use public transport alone and has had a big impact on his independence.  

Chrissy has reduced dexterity and weakness in his left upper limb. However, he is motivated to use it during cycling to help facilitate function. 

Cycling had always been a hobby for Chrissy prior to his brain injury, so being able to participate in the cycling group has empowered him to return to an occupation he previously enjoyed. He has also been able to engage with other participants in the group, getting to know them and also share his experiences and knowledge, and learn about services in the community. 

Although having a brain injury was a life changing event, Chrissy said his life has only got better. He has a son on the way and is looking forward to being able to go cycling in the future with his family. 

Cycling has helped Chrissy to overcome his brain injury and live a positive lifestyle and given him the confidence to achieve his aspirations and goals. Chrissy is motivated to return to work and be able to drive again. 

Photo and case study by Becky Teasdale while on placement at Sport for Confidence and Sheffield Cycling 4 All in her 3rd year of an Occupational Therapy course at Sheffield Hallam University 2022. 

If you are interested in our cycling sessions, please email info@sheffieldcycling4all.org or contact us on 07565 695 296 or 07922 183 338.

Melvyn Ollerenshaw’s story

Melvyn Ollerenshawe
Mel on Easy rider

In November 2017 Melvyn had 2 strokes, one after another. He was taken to Hallamshire hospital where they ‘smashed up his blood clots’. Melvyn says he is lucky. After the strokes he had very little use of his left side, and arm. He couldn’t walk very well and was tired very easily.

Sometime in 2018 his wife was watching Look North, and saw Sheffield Cycling 4 All were on. She then searched online to find us (thank you Look North!).

Melvyn hasn’t cycled since he was 10-11 years old. Back then he would go everywhere on his bike, even cycling from Sheffield to Doncaster to see the trains.

“I used to make good use of it”, he says. Then, ‘since the invention of the motor car’ he never really bothered with cycling and says,

“I never thought about joining a club, but I am in one now”, although being in a club isn’t important to Melvyn, he comes to improve his fitness.

He has been cycling with Sheffield Cycling 4 All for about a year and a half now. When he first started, he would cycle around the basketball pitch (about 400m). Within a couple of months, he was cycling around the whole park, hills and all. Now Melvyn is doing 7 laps of the park in 2 hours! He is a machine!

Melvyn says he is invigorated by cycling,

“I’m just so pleased that I can cycle, I am getting better and better.”

Melvyn tries to come to Sheffield Cycling 4 All once a week (and to our Saturday session when he can), as well as going to the gym twice a week. In July 2019, Melvyn took part in the HSBC UK City Ride Sheffield. Starting at Endcliffe Park, the route takes you through to the city centre on traffic free roads. He loved it, saying,

“It was a great achievement.”

Melvyn is cycling easily now. He said that he started using 1st or 2nd gears only but is now using 3rd and 4th gears to get around. Melvyn feels engaged with the Sheffield Cycling 4 All community, but says that he is a quiet, anti-social type. Despite this, he is a favourite among our volunteers. Melvyn hasn’t asked, but our volunteer’s take it in turns to get a bike over to his car, so that he doesn’t have as far to walk. They know which bike he has (Van Raam Easy rider), where his seat needs to go, and which pedal to swap to a more supportive one.

When Melvyn is asked if he feels more confident and better about himself since starting cycling with us, he replies,

“I do.”

After the strokes Melvyn had to get used to his body again which was hard, it moved and acted differently than it did before, and the changes were sudden. Melvyn is learning to enjoy the challenges and achievements his body is giving him. He is proud of increasing the gears on the bike and the HSBC ride, and is looking forward to his next challenge of swimming.

Sadly Mel passed away in November 2022. So glad we got to meet you.

If you are interested in our sessions, please email info@sheffieldcycling4all.org or contact Tom on 0792 2183 338.

Emily’s story

We first heard about Emily when we were approached by Nina from the Sheffield Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (SHASBAH). She was looking for a bike that 9-year-old Emily could borrow so that she could take part in Bikeability cycle training at her school. Emily’s mum, Helen, said,

“I always try to get Emily involved in everything that the school does. Emily has Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus and struggles with mobility. I purchased a ‘normal’ bike and paid for some adjustments in the hope Emily would be able to use it but unfortunately this was not the case.”

When Nina contacted us, we suggested that our solo hand cycle might be suitable for Emily, however we were concerned that it might be too big for her. She came down to one of our sessions to try it out and was glad to find that the bike was a good fit. Emily had a great time riding on the hand cycle and also enjoyed riding together with her mum on the tandem hand cycle. Helen said,

“The visit to Sheffield Cycling 4 All was, in one, word – fantastic!! They made us feel so welcome, the staff were friendly, helpful, and made 2 nervous people feel fine and at ease.”

Nina picked up the bike and took it to Emily’s school,

“Her face lit up when she saw the bike turn up at school and she couldn’t wait till Monday to get started,” said Helen. “Bikeability was great, Emily loved every second on the bike, even using it at playtimes in school. It was all she could talk about, and how much she felt included.”

The family have plans to ride together at Sheffield Cycling 4 All sessions in the future and eventually would like Emily to have a hand cycle of her own.

“Can I say a massive thank you to all at Sheffield Cycling 4 All for making my daughters year, and for making a mum very proud of her little girl,” said Helen. “Without yourselves and Nina I don’t think this would’ve been possible. Emily says a big thank you for letting her borrow the bike to do as her friends do at school.”

If you are interested in our sessions, please email info@sheffieldcycling4all.org or contact Tom on 0792 2183 338.