UCI Bike City Wollongong: helping to make cycling available to all
“Seeing people with disabilities riding independently across our carpark with massive smiles on their faces has been priceless!”
These words from Edward Birt, Chief Operating Officer of The Disability Trust in Wollongong (Australia), sum up the joy that cycling can bring to people of all abilities. His words also sum up why the city of Wollongong pushes inclusion within its cycling strategy.
While the Australian city provided an exceptional stage for the world’s best cyclists during the 2022 UCI Road World Championships last September, Wollongong is equally proud of its programmes to ensure cycling can be enjoyed by its entire population, regardless of their background, culture or physical ability.
“As part of Wollongong’s cycling strategy, Destination Wollongong established a Bike City Community Partnership Programme in 2021 which now includes 34 organizations including local indigenous representatives, multicultural societies, sports clubs, disability organizations, social enterprises and health and wellbeing organizations.”
One of the partners of this programme, The Disability Trust ran a pilot CycleAbility programme in 2022, with a range of modified bikes to make cycling more accessible. A free event on the last Saturday of each month enables anyone to try the bikes in the safety of the Trust’s head office carpark. CycleAbility Mentors, with disabilities themselves, are there to support participants in their cycling journey. Depending on their skill and confidence levels, riders may then be taken further afield into the community.