The University of Central Lancashire’s Stroke Research department invited stroke survivors, relatives, carers and healthcare professionals from across Lancashire to experiment with a range of adapted and electric bicycles.
The event, held at UCLan Sports Arena, was part of a project by a team of researchers to help stroke survivors get either get back into or take up cycling.
Participants trialled a range of bikes, including three wheelers, four wheelers, recumbents, hand cycles and wheelchair transporters to explore whether adapted and electric bicycles can support people affected by strokes in returning or taking up cycling.
The project was supported by Electric Bikes Research Executive (EBRE), and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
UCLan has a well-established collaborative partnership with the EBRE, a charity that aims to unlock the potential of electrically assisted pedal cycles through research, innovation and educational activities through the NIHR’s Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI).
Head of UCLan’s Stroke Research Department, Caroline Watkins, spoke about the importance of reclaiming mobility as a part of rehabilitation.
She said: “We wanted to speak to people to see how they could feel more confident about getting back on a bike, what their concerns may be, as well as gaining the perspective of health professionals who may be cautious about encouraging potentially risky activities.
“Some very useful feedback was obtained on the day which will help us to now look in greater detail at the physical adaptations which electrically assisted bicycles would require to make them suitable for stroke survivors with a range of impairments, as well as the further discussions needed to help people work through practical and mental barriers prior to revisiting leisure pursuits.”
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This particular initiative was inspired by a member of the department’s team, a stroke survivor, who recently began using a recumbent bicycle but fatigue prevented him travelling as far as he wanted.
As a result, the team began considering alternative options to see how they might work in practice, inspiring the event.
According to the Stroke Association, stroke occurs approximately 152,000 times a year with over 1.2m stroke survivors in the UK.
UCLan’s Stroke Research team is the UK’s only nurse-led stroke research unit and works closely with national and international partners to promote stroke research and improve care and education standards.
The team’s extensive portfolio of primary and secondary research spans the five main areas of stroke care: acute, long-term care, prevention, rehabilitation and workforce development.
Did you take part in the saddle event? Have you been involved with UCLan’s Stroke Research team? Let us know in the comments below