Adventure bound, not housebound

Posted on: 3 November 2017

When a call went out asking for people to nominate someone who they felt did amazing things in / for people in Devon, one response immediately stood out. Tom Pales is the founder of Freetrike Rehab Cycling offering cycle coaching to people with disabilities. He picks them up from their home, transports them to their nearest traffic-free cycle path and delivers 2 hours of 1-to-1 supported exercise on adapted trikes, bikes and tandems. He gives them the freedom to challenge their disability and re-engage with the outdoors.

We talked to Tom about what he does and what motivated him in the first place.

How did you come up with the idea for Rehab Cycling?

The idea for Rehab Cycling came after my father’s stroke in 2002 which made him housebound. I wanted to find an opportunity to get him back out of the wood work and for him to enjoy the surrounding countryside at the edge of Dartmoor, and make him active again.

What are the benefits of Rehab Cycling?

The benefits of Rehab Cycling are for Body, Mind and Soul. ‘Body’ for exercise, ‘Mind’ for getting outdoors and getting back into nature, and ‘Soul’ for the companionship we offer in taking people out regularly every week and also the people they meet out on the paths.

Can anyone with a disability cycle?

The majority of our clients are housebound and in a wheelchair. We pick them up, transfer them to our vehicle and drive them to their nearest traffic free path. That’s allowed us to work with people of every type of disability and any age.

We’ve worked with people who’ve had strokes through to chronic lower back pain; we’ve worked with people with paralysis, high tone, very poor balance and visual problems.

Really we’ve worked across the field with every type of disability you can imagine.

Where do you take clients cycling?

We’re very lucky in Devon because we have over 150 miles of paths that either flank rivers or canal tow paths or disused railways that have been converted and these help us to get people out into nature and into society.

What motivates you?

A phrase we often use is adventure bound, not housebound and I’m very motivated by these beautiful paths that are often on people’s doorstep and the amazing equipment available now. Together we can get people out into society and enjoying the opportunity of these paths.

For more information, visit rehabcycling.co.uk

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