An inspirational 11-year-old from Wokingham has proved that living with a disability doesn’t have to hold you back after completing her Level 2 Bikeability training programme.
Sadie Stoddard, who is missing part of her lower right arm and hand due to an upper limb difference, used a specially adapted bike and an ‘inclusive’ solution by TTC Cycling to sail through the 8-hour course, which was paid for from Wokingham Borough Council’s Bikeability grant.
The Winnersh Primary School pupil was worried about maintaining control of the bike, whilst signalling with one hand when a new helmet that uses wireless technology to indicate was suggested.
“When I first found out about the training, I was excited but also a bit nervous as I knew I would struggle with the signalling,” Sadie said.
“I have an arm attachment that I normally use. However, using this meant it would be difficult to take my arm out and put it back in whilst maintaining control of the bike.”
Sadie’s mum Sarah was introduced to TTC Cycling, the company responsible for delivering the training at the school.
Clive Eve, UK Contract Manager, was delighted he could help: “Once I’d spoken to Sadie’s mum Sarah, we understood the challenge she was facing and, using our experience and industry knowledge, came up with a way that enabled her daughter to fulfil her potential using a clever piece of technology.
“We are passionate about making sure that every child has the opportunity to learn to ride a bike and receive training that makes them safer on our streets and roads.”
He added: “This means making courses ‘inclusive’ as we understand that everyone’s situation is different and offer lots of positive solutions to potential challenges – this starts from the course information and the way our instructors are trained through to the actual delivery of Bikeability where our staff often go above and beyond to help everyone taking part.”
Supported by TTC Cycling, Sadie was able to complete signalling with one hand whilst turning thanks to the special wireless helmet provided by Halfords.
The bike, which was adapted by Isla Bikes, has a socket attached to the handlebars that Sadie slots her arm in to provide balance and steering control. Both brake cables are attached to one brake lever, whilst a small controller was attached that uses wireless technology to light up the helmet at the back, indicating which way the cyclist wants to turn.
With this little bit of assistance, she excelled in learning all the road positions, showing good decision-making, demonstrating awareness of her surroundings through clear observation and maintaining excellent balance when riding during the series of practical exercises.
Sadie said: “TTC suggested a special helmet which had lights on the back and indicators – a bit like you get on a car. On my bike was a wireless button and I could press left or right and it would signal automatically. The staff were really nice and I felt confident by the end of it. Best of all, I passed!”
Sadie’s mum Sarah Stoddard added her support: “Within seconds of talking things through with Clive, the words ‘solution’ and ‘inclusive’ were used and I knew that Sadie would have every opportunity to complete the Bikeability course.
“This view is really important and so refreshing to families like ours who may have had to overcome different situations. To have a company ready to positively support and help you with your journey is invaluable and proves ‘where there is a will, there is a way’.”
She added: “Using wireless technology, the helmet signals for her, giving Sadie a really innovative yet simple way to communicate to other road users her intentions. It also looked really smart and she left the house feeling very confident, looking forward to her first day of the Bikeability course.”
Jill Bissell, Cycle Training Co-ordinator at the council’s My Journey Wokingham team, said: “Sadie was one of 56 children in Year 6 at Winnersh Primary School who were trained on Bikeability Level 1/Level 2 courses this term. The courses were paid for from Wokingham Borough Council’s Bikeability Grant. Thanks to annual Bikeability grants from the Department for Transport, Wokingham Council now offer Bikeability training at all of the borough’s primary and junior schools, two special schools (and some secondary schools).
“The school-based Bikeability courses (run by TTC Cycling) aim to include as many children as possible, regardless of disability or special/additional needs. In addition to these, the My Journey Wokingham team at Wokingham Borough Council run Bikeability holiday courses for children with autism and additional needs, Bikeability Learn to Ride sessions for children who are struggling to ride a pedal bike and Inclusive Cycling sessions for adults with physical or learning disabilities.”
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