Lindsey, 70, (and proud of it) was born and bred in Sheffield and has lived here all her life barring 5 years away, (where she was somewhere near Rotherham).
She has visited Sheffield Cycling 4 All (SC4A) 61 times as part of our VIP group (Visually Impaired pedallers) since 2021.
Lindsey has always loved dancing and started ballroom dancing at 9 years old, but never had a boyfriend or husband who she could partner with, so ended up being able to dance lead!
Before losing her sight Lindsey went out and saw friends, but ‘not much else’. Then thirteen or fourteen years ago, Lindsey went to bed fine and woke up in the morning having lost the sight of her left eye.
‘I could still drive, and there were lots of things I could do once I got used to it.’
However, four months later Lindsey lost the sight in her right eye. She was in the Hallamshire hospital every day for a week and,
‘They didn’t have a scooby do what was wrong with me’…
Until one doctor mentioned Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada (VKH) disease. It was so rare that ‘every doctor had to come see me to have a look!’
After a couple of days in hospital,
‘I could see light! I can see the sun shining. I was so excited. The prof give me a hug, I think he was happier than me.’
Lindsey’s eyesight would go and come back, she was happy, because if it had come back, it might again.
Richard, her husband, took time off to support Lindsey when she got home, as she couldn’t see and there were all the drugs she needed to take. Lindsey was a lab tech at a school and it was coming up to the 6 week summer holidays, so she could take it off work easy.
‘This is when I found out who my friends were. In those 6 weeks, I never spent more than a couple of hours on my own. My friends were absolute gems!’
They visited morning and afternoon, helping out and chatting.
‘Since losing my sight, that’s when I got all my hobbies!’
‘When I lost my first eye, a friend Sue took me to Mappin street,’ Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind (SRSB). ‘I felt like a little girl, Sue was holding my hands. I didn’t know what I was going to do, who I was going to talk to or what to say’.
They offered listening books, theatre trips, and creative writing which Lindsey was ‘not bothered about’ but she did make a friend called Alwyn, who organised the theatre trips. Lindsey would go to with friends.
A couple of years later they started offering more physical activities, which was more Lindsey’s cup of tea! Her hobbies now include Curling, Tennis, Cycling, Snooker and Crown green bowling. She also mentioned Shooting and Archery, and the only reason she doesn’t do these anymore is that they clash with other activities!
At tennis, Lindsey won the tournament at the Sheffield/South Yorkshire group and got a beautiful cup and medals. She was then invited to play at Wimbledon. Lindsey couldn’t believe it, and took a little persuasion! ‘I can’t go!!!’ but she did and played on court 4!
Lindsey heard about SC4A through SRSB, along with all the other activities.
When they told Lindsey about cycling, Lindsey thought;
‘I’d rather not cycle alone, I could run in to a dog. I wanted to ride with my friends’.
Lindsey comes nearly every week with her friend Tina, and they ride one of our side by side tandems.
Lindsey met Tina at The Lizzie Dripping Morris Dance team, before her vision was going. ‘We just clicked, we were the rebels of the Morris dancers’, so she asked her to come along, and they love it!
The cycling helps Lindsey with her hips and legs, and she can move more easily as a result. ‘Depending on my knees, depends on how long I can cycle for, but we nearly always do an hour.’
Tina is in charge of steering and is always asking Lindsey if she can manage another hill! ‘What a wonderful girl she is!’
‘I will continue to cycle at SC4A as long as you are there freezing your socks off, I love it.’
‘I met all you lot [volunteers and session workers] you are all wonderful. You’re all lovely’
‘We look forward to it. A lot of things I do are inside, and it’s nice to be outside’.
‘When we come down to the VIPs, we are always greeted with an array of smiley faces and a warm welcome. They are friendly and extremely helpful. The reason that I first joined the VIPs was that I knew we would all be in the same boat, so I was at ease. I would now feel confident in mixing with other groups’.
Tina was asked what the benefits of cycling at SC4A were to her, and she said ‘Well outdoors, very interesting lovely scenery, in all seasons because we come most of the year [don’t we Linz?!], to get round the park, spend time with Lindsey because we are very good friends, and we have a good chat, and its great exercise. I wouldn’t normally do this type of exercise because I am not a cyclist normally, and we get to meet the staff, volunteers and other users, and it’s just great fun, I just really love it.’