Herne Hill Velodrome Welcomes Disabled Cyclists
South London's iconic track cycling venue experienced a first last Friday 24th February: trike cyclists, handcyclists, side-by-side tandem cyclists, enjoying the thrill of cycling at the Herne Hill Velodrome! This was made possible by British Cycling's re-surfacing of the banked track, last August, which included the addition of a 3.6m wide, flat strip, enabling others than 2 wheeler race-cyclists to ride at Herne Hill.
Most cyclists were discovering the Velodrome for the very first time. Isabelle Clement, Manager of Wheels for Wellbeing says: "This was a trial session, to gauge the response of our regular participants. I've been confident our participants would love cycling on the track but the approaches to it are not perfect for access yet. We had a lot of volunteers on hand to help mitigate this aspect. For the long term, we will work with the Velodrome to ensure that disabled access is built into their plans from the outset".
Iman Saab (pictured above), a former wheelchair racer says: "I love cycling here! This is a proper work out; I really feel my muscles are doing some work!! This place is a wonderful site. I didn't know it was here". John Turnbull, a long standing member of Anerley CC recently needed to re-learn to cycle with Wheels for Wellbeing’s support, following an attack of shingles which had initially left his legs paralysed. He was thrilled to be back at Herne Hill: “As a young cyclist I watched racing at Herne Hill in the 1950's. It was quite exciting riding on the newly surfaced track. Nice smooth surface, enthusiastic helpers, from my point of view it’s perfect. I couldn’t wish for anything better”.
Wheels for Wellbeing (WfW) has been working with Herne Hill Velodrome over the last 18 months to ensure that, as investment starts flowing to renovate the site, disabled, younger and older cyclists are factored into all the infrastructure changes. Charmian Hornsby, a Herne Hill Velodrome Trust Board member who volunteered to help on Friday says: "It is wonderful to see how much difference the new flat track extension makes; the Trust is very keen to see new people cycle at the track. Wheels for Wellbeing's participants are very welcome here".
Wheels for Wellbeing's Friday sessions generally run at the All Weather Pitch, above the Lido, in Brockwell Park. These will restart this week but the WfW team will continue to work with the Herne Hill Velodrome to turn this one off Velodrome session into a regular feature.