This Girl Can Ride
Pippa outside of the Derby Arena with friend, Diana Higman and Christine Kelly from Cycle Derby.
No barriers in her disability
Pippa Bellis is a 43-year-old wheelchair user who has used one of Derbyshire's Inclusive Cycling Hubs to help her on an adventure. Pippa explains her story here.
"I am a 43 wheelchair user who has Cerebral Palsy, which effects all four limbs. I have always been outward going and have never let my disability get in my way.
"I have always liked cycling but when I was a child, they didn't have the range of adapted bikes to suit my disability. What they did have was unstable and I kept on falling off."
Finding a love for cycling
"About 15 years ago, I started going to the Calvert Trust, which is an outward-bound centre for disabled people. I found that I could manage the hand-crank bike (hand cycles) really well.
"On a visit in March 2015, I saw that they had a tandem bike that I may be able to pedal. Even though there was not time for me to have a go on it, it made me realise how much I wanted to take cycling up as a hobby."
Finding inspiration in her friends
"I did some research on the internet into adaptive cycling near me and that is when I found Christine Kelly from Cycle Derby. Christine invited me to an open day back in July, in Markeaton Park in Derby and I tried both the hand-crank and the tandem bikes
"To my amazement, I found that not only could I balance on the seat of the tandem bike. I could pedal it too.
"I travel from Tamworth to Markeaton Park every Tuesday for my weekly bike ride and Christine comes with me on the rides to monitor my progress. At the moment, I can cycle up to 6k.
"What makes it more special, is one of my most inspirational friends Diana Higman, who is a transplant double-gold medallist and lives round the corner from Markeaton Park, joins me most weeks."
Embarking on the adventure to the Arena
Derby Arena's velodrome track.
"I have always wanted to visit a velodrome, especially after watching the cycling at London 2012. Once I knew that there was one in Derby, well it had to be done!
On October 6 (2015), I joined Christine, Diana as my co-pilot and a lovely group of Breeze out-riders to escort me and we rode to the velodrome.
"We left Markeaton Park at 12.00 and aimed to arrive at the Derby Arena for a tour at 13.00. We had a couple of problems with my new pedals quickly put right by Christine and staff at Samways Cycles, the weather was not too unkind with just a little rain towards the end.
"The route took us through mainly quiet roads and cycle tracks. Derby is amazing for having a wealth of great tracks and a little bit along a road through the city centre which was fine with all my friends around me.
"It was surreal being in a city centre, on the road, behind all of the traffic on. Never in my wildest dreams, did I think that I would be able to do something like this. Finally we made or way to the Velodrome along the riverside path. 10 kilometres I covered – which is my greatest distance so far."
Pippa's big challenge
"The great staff at Derby Arena then took me for a tour of the track – they even persuaded some riders to give me a bit of a demonstration. Unfortunately my wheelchair couldn't go on the track. Maybe one day!
"I have since trained for a 20-mile sponsored bike ride, in aid of Action Medical Research for Children, which I completed on May 8 2016."
Find out more
To find out more about Derbyshire's Inclusive Cycling Hubs and what adapted bikes they have to offer visit the website page: www.derbyshiresport.co.uk/inclusive-cycling