Positive Spin is a groundbreaking project which enables people with dementia to cycle. Cycling is a skill which is learnt and carried out through ‘procedural’ memory, which is often unimpaired in people with a diagnosis of dementia. The suggestion of cycling for people with a diagnosis of dementia of any age often surprises and frequently potential referrals opt out due to a belief that they/their client would not be able to take part. Positive Spin has challenged this view, leading to committed attendance and enormous benefits for those who do take part.

The Benefits are far reaching:

  • 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.

“You all managed to create a lovely atmosphere at your session and my mum and I really appreciated it. Saw my dad smiling on the bike too, which was good to see. Almost felt magical seeing all those people floating around on their bikes independently and happily enjoying in the bright sunshine”

“I am so happy I could cry. It has boosted my self confidence and it is great to be here with all the people working to make the quality of our lives better. I loved being in the fresh air, the company, the banter while we are riding”

“The exercise .... marvellous

Positive Spin Gallery