The lessons learned by our award winning projects now delivered in partnership with Bikeworks, led to the concept of For Brian CIC. No matter how good the intervention, how much it ticks the boxes for people living with dementia and the famileis and friends, it is so important that equal attention is given to the communities that build up around the activity, and the need for the projects to be sustainable and sensitive to the changing needs of individuals.

Cycling is both learned and practiced using procedural memory, which can by-pass the the coordination disorders in voluntary movement which can be very disabling in many neurological conditions. It is also apparent that facilitating regular mindful movement has an important rehabilitation effect in people living with dementia. The benenits have been far reaching.

Positive Spin Outcomes 

  • Progression through National Standard outcomes: the clear structure and small steps is a very useful framework to assess risk, and facilitate learning in all participants, validating existing skills and developing confidence.

  • Visual perceptual difficulties are a very disabling symptom for some people with dementia. This has proved not to be a barrier to balance,  nor the ability to navigate, and confidence in cycling independently has been restored.

  • Dyspraxia causes difficulties in all activities of daily living. For some very experienced cyclists their symptoms do not affect them whilst cycling, for others placing the feet on the pedals and passive cycling has led to developing the ability to cycle independently.

  • Disorientation, and its perceived role in cycling has been challenged. Cycling independently around a large space, returning to base, and cycling in a group around the park, or 'snaking' on quiet streets has been possibly for many participants who experience disorientation and do not go out alone. Progressing through the use of side by side and tandem cycles led to greater confidence and the ability to generalise the skill and initiate pedaling on a bicycle. Skills have either been retained from week to week, or have been regained quickly.

  • Locus of Control: the value of a sense of freedom to move around independently, and under your own control cannot be underestimated. Osteoporosis, chronic pain, reduced mobility when walking, stroke, wheelchair dependence, have not been a barrier to engaging in cycling. Quite the contrary, pain free mobility is facilitated. The opportunity for carers to engage mindfully in cycling without worrying about their relative, sharing a joyful experience on equal terms contributes to the therapeutic value of this project.

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