Terez lacked confidence in cycling before starting a 10-week block of cycle rides with Bike for Good. She came to Bike for Good via Home-start, an organisation she has been engaging with for a few years. Before this, she had only cycled as a child and in her teenage years mainly on quiet routes and cycle paths. She was especially nervous of cycling on the roads.
When I moved to Glasgow it seemed very busy and I had had some bad experiences in the past losing friends in cycling accidents so I was aware that it could be very dangerous. Especially now that I have young children I wasn’t very confident going on the bike because I was sure I would always have them with me. So I wanted to build confidence and road awareness.
As the primary carer for two young sons with additional needs, including autism, and living in Knightswood, an area far from the city centre and lacking in public services, Terez rarely left the house with her children while her husband worked. Additionally, finding ways to entertain them during the long summer holidays was a difficult task, with the nearest children’s playground out of reach. During her time with Bike for Good, Terez got her own bike working, and bought a bike trailer and a tag-along tow bike to transport her children. Now having discovered she can take out her boys in the trailer with some ease, her daily life has changed dramatically, decreasing her isolation and increasing her access to leisure and recreation for her and her children, and she is ready for the summer ahead!
Cycling is a free activity for the summer holidays and the boys are just getting so much from it. We are getting around a lot more. Me and the boys were quite isolated before because I can’t really manage them on my own. But now we are getting out three or four times a week which is really good. They’re enjoying being out more. Our nearest playground is just two or three minutes away on the bike. Before we would walk for half an hour and my younger son would get tired by the time we got there and then he would lose interest in playing. And he would have to walk home as well, so it was very difficult. Now we just get on the bike, go to the playground and they can enjoy themselves. So it’s a big improvement in our lives.
Quite quickly after our sessions with Terez started, after learning some basic road rules and doing a practise ride almost directly to her house, she began cycling to the sessions on her own bike along the canal instead of driving. Once cycling, her confidence increased, along with her personal access to recreational activities across Glasgow, including its green spaces and additional services. She also increased her levels of physical exercise and all of the associated physical and mental health benefits, cycling at least 10 miles a week, if not more, just for the Bike for Good sessions.
I’m really happy that I’ve done this training with Bike for Good. It has helped a lot. Before as a family we’d only go cycling two or three times a year; now we go three or four times a week! I’m more confident going onto the road and trying out new routes. It’s a lot of fun for the whole family. Even though we’ve got our difficulties with the boys, we’re building on that distance. Our boys get anxious whenever we stop, but they are not anxious when we are cycling, so they can see more and go further.
As well as the practical benefits and positive impact on her mental and physical health, increased access to cycling has also improved Terez’s personal freedom. During the summer holidays, she is busy with her children 24 hours a day, but once school starts up again she plans to get out on the bike more. She now has a new way to visit and spend quality time with friends and family in the city, opening up her local area and all its local services, and a new form of leisure and exercise.
I will definitely go out on my own once the boys get back to school. I am already planning to go further away on my own and with my husband. And possibly doing some shopping and stuff like that, especially when the weather is nice. I’m sure I will be more confident to do those things now.
Terez is an inspiration to parents everywhere that not only can you try cycling with your family against all the obstacles, but you can succeed and go far! Thank you Terez for being an ambassador for cycling for parents of children with additional needs!