Ride Out Ride On

 

A range of different conditions can stop people from being able to access the outdoors. From mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, to mobility issues related to stroke, heart conditions, visual impairment or learning disabilities, there are any number of obstacles preventing people from being able to propel themselves on their own adventures.

Ride Out Ride On (RORO, for short) is a Bristol-based service dedicated to providing the freedom and movement of a bike ride to those who would otherwise be unable to do so themselves. By taking clients out on a specially designed tandem – the Hase Pino – we can offer anyone the freedom of movement and joy of cycling.

How it works:

Clients are placed on the semi-recumbent front seat of the tandem, leaving the steering, balancing, braking and gear changing to our experienced back-riders. The service can offer a range of modular attachments that can accommodate a wide range of conditions.

Attachments:

Braces can be attached to either or both pedals to support weak or unstable legs. The bike is equipped with dual-kickstands meaning clients do not have to worry about the balance or stability of the bike, even when it’s not in motion.

Children’s cranks can be put on the bike meaning anyone of any height, size or age can ride. The bike is also designed with a freewheel in the front crankset, allowing clients to pedal as much or as little as they want.

Clients:

To date, clients have included those with stroke, autism, loss of sight and anxiety. For some conditions – Parkinson’s disease, and stroke, for example – there are documented health benefits relating to the re-connection of neural pathways that come with the rotational and repetitive motion of pedalling. For others, the impacts are no less powerful: riding a bike, having fun, and being immersed in the great outdoors, can build self-confidence, recover lost strength and stamina, or improve balance.

Who we are:

Holly, the founder of RORO, has always been invested in the issues of access, distribution and fairness. Volunteering as a guide-runner for the visually impaired, studying BSL, and working as an inclusion worker for young people with medical and behavioural needs have, in some way, all been about ensuring everyone has a chance to do what they love, irrespective of the obstacles life may have put in their way. In 2017, she decided she wanted to take this mission and introduce it to her first true love: cycling.

As someone who has cycled through countries around the world (Cuba, Georgia, Sardinia, Sicily, Spain, France, Scotland etc.), and running local guided cycle tours for Bristol company Cycle the City (sight seeing tours, food tours, women of Bristol history tours) Holly knew first hand the benefits that cycling can offer to one’s health, wellbeing and enjoyment. Knowing that there were people unable to unlock these benefits, she decided to set up RORO, to make sure as many people as possible – especially those who could most benefit from it – could get on their bikes and ride.

The first steps:

The service consists of the following components. Firstly – a free diagnosis session will be organised, in which a rider will visit the client to assess what particular needs they have, and what adaptations need to be made to the tandem to accommodate their particular height or other. Anyone can get in contact to discuss getting involved with RORO – either for themselves, or on behalf of a loved one or a patient. Routes will be discussed, and clients can explain how far, and for how long they expect to want to ride for – typically an hour or two’s cycling. The first session can then arranged.

Cycle routes:

Routes can either be selected from the portfolio of traffic-free routes RORO have developed from National Cycle Network and Sustrans routes or, if preferred, the client can be taken on whatever journey, aiming for whatever destination the client likes. Then the adventure can begin.

Depending on start point of the adventure, the location of the client, and the availability of their own transport, we can either meet at the start of the route, or if needed home pick-ups and drop- offs can be arranged. If loved ones, parents, partners or carers want to join in on the adventure, they are of course most welcome to do so. If they do not have access to a bicycle, then RORO also has a number of Temple Cycles bikes that can be hired.

Price:

 An hour’s cycle costs £48, or a two hour session £90. If home pick-ups are required, the time taken to pick up and reach the start point is not included in the session’s cost. All RORO’s riders are fully insured, and the routes have all been risk-assessed.

For more information, please feel free to get in contact Holly on:

Email: hello@rideoutrideon.com

Phone number: (+44) 7823 461 892

Instagram: @rideoutrideon

Pavement Parking Campaign

1,000 days is a long time to wait when your safety is put at risk by dangerous pavement parking.  By September, that’s exactly how long it will have been since the UK Parliament promised to find out how a new law on pavement parking would work.

In August, the Guide Dogs charity will be taking to the streets across the country to collect signatures for an open letter calling on the Government to end the thousand days of delay on pavement parking.  Would you like to join them?

All you need is a spare a couple of hours on any day during 13-19 August and to sign up here to help in your local area.

Student research into transport barriers for people with hearing loss

Every day, thousands of people use public transport to get to work. However, people with hearing impairments face many barriers that can make travel by public transport difficult, or even impossible.

As part of her Masters programme in Transport Planning at the University of Leeds, Liliana W.Jonni  is looking for participants to take part in a short survey. The survey includes questions about the transport difficulties faced by people with a hearing impairment and the extent to which transport creates problems in relation to employment or employability.

If you are able to support Liliana’s work by completing the survey it would be much appreciated. You can find it here:  https://bit.ly/2tnUSKX

Help raise money for the Forum with easyfundraising

Did you know that if you shop online using easyfundraising, you can collect donations for the Forum at no extra cost to you?

All you need to do is register with easyfundraising and choose Bristol Disability Equality Forum as your beneficiary. Then, when you shop online through easyfundraising with one of over 3000 retailers, they will donate a percentage of the amount you spend to the Forum to say thank you for shopping with them. It’s that easy!

Here’s what Laurel, one of our members has to say about shopping through easyfundraising:

“I’ve bought the widest possible range of things through easyfundraising, from jeans, to toiletries, to food, to gifts, to hoovers, to tech, to camping gear, to tools – I’ve even bought a wheelchair using it!  I can’t afford to make standard donations so this way of supporting the Forum is perfect for me.”

We’ve collected over £300 with easyfundraising so far but we need your help to keep donations coming in. Please sign up today via https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/invite/1PG9XT/ and help us raise as much as possible!

Thursday 21 June 2018 – Going Public: The Art of Participatory Practice

Thursday 21 June 2018

4pm – 6pm

Room 4.10, 35 Berkeley Square, Bristol, BS8 1JA

This lecture by Steven High will draw on conversations with over thirty researchers and artists across multiple cultures and disciplines, to examine the ways in which oral historians, media producers, and theatre artists use art, stories, and participatory practices to engage creatively with their publics. As researchers are increasingly taking their research from the campus to the public arena, what are the ethics of, and expectations for, social impact? And how do new technologies, platforms, and methods challenge community-engaged artists, academics, and media makers to rethink their approaches to collaboration?

Our understanding is that the venue is wheelchair accessible and has a hearing loop. Please see the DisabledGo report for more detailed information.

You can sign up for the event via Eventbrite.

 

GDPR: Do You Want to Keep In Touch?

Dear Member

We’d like to keep in touch with you about the vital work we do with and for Deaf and Disabled people, other information we think will interest you, and how you can help and support us.

As the law is changing we have to have your permission to continue using the information you have given us.  Our Forum Administrator will be asking you to do this shortly, so please keep an eye out for a letter from us and respond quickly.  Otherwise we will not be able to contact you again.

You can also change your mind at any time by letter or email to: bristoldef@gmail.com

We will never sell your data and we promise to keep your details safe and secure.

So, please remember to reply quickly when you are asked for your permission to hold information about you.  Otherwise we will not be able to contact you again.

Yours

Gordon Richardson and Karen Passmore

(Forum Co-Chairs), on behalf of the Forum trustees.

 

 

Bristol 18th May 2018 – The Department for Transport’s CWIS Cycling and Walking Safety Review

Discuss the issues, share insight, and have your say…

Friday 18th May

10:00 am – 12:30pm

City Hall, Bristol

Regional Engagement

We invite anyone with an interest in improving safety for cyclists and pedestrians to join us at one of these special events, for example age and disability groups, parents, teachers and pupils, cyclists, would-be cyclists, pedestrians, joggers, dog walkers, motor cyclists, horse riders, scooters, local, parish and district councillors, public transport operators, professional drivers and couriers…

Why now?

The Department for Transport is currently running a Cycle Safety Review, and has launched a ‘call for evidence’ that forms part of a wider consultation on road safety issues related to cycling.

What are the issues?

It invites those with an interest in improving safety and perception of safety for cyclists and pedestrians to provide evidence, drawing on experience from the UK or other countries, that can be used to shape future policy decisions. The six key consultation themes are:

  • how to improve safety through changes to road infrastructure
  • the law and rules of the road
  • road user training and testing
  • education
  • vehicles and equipment
  • attitudes, understanding and awareness of different road users

Why we need your insight

The scope of the consultation considers the wider societal benefits of cycling and walking, perceptions of safety – especially for vulnerable road users – and the common misunderstandings and differences of opinion between cyclists and other modes/road users.

Understanding this complexity, the Department for Transport is keen to engage with a wide range of stakeholders, and members of the public, and is facilitating these workshop events to discuss the issues. We invite anyone with an interest in improving safety for cyclists and pedestrians to join us.

Agenda – Events will last for 2.5 hours with the following programme:

10.00 – 10.30 Registration and coffee
10.30 – 10.45 DfT presentation setting the context for the Review
10.45 – 11.00 Stakeholder perspectives
11.00 – 12.30 Interactive group discussions, responding to the six consultation questions
12.30 – Closing remarks from DfT

Further details of the consultation can be found here:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cycle-safety-review

The call for evidence, which closes on 1st June, can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/cycling-and-walking-investment-strategy-cwis-safety-review

 

Restore the Access to Elected Office Fund!

The Government is facing a legal challenge to restore the Access to Elected Office fund (AEOF) which helps Deaf and Disabled candidates, of all parties, with the extra costs of standing for election. The legal challenge is being brought by 3 Disabled would-be MPs from 3 different parties and is being supported by the cross-party campaign group More United.

There are over 13.9 million Disabled people in the UK, that’s 21% of the British population. Fair and accurate representation of all demographics is an essential part of any healthy democracy. However, just 5 Disabled MPs were elected to the House of Commons at General election 2017. Together, they make up less than 1% of Parliament.

A major reason for the under-representation of Disabled people in Parliament is the additional financial barriers faced by Disabled candidates when seeking to stand for election. The AEOF was set up in 2012 to allow Disabled candidates to campaign on an equal footing to their non-disabled counterparts. The fund offered grants between £250 and £40,000 to cover extra costs such as BSL interpreters, assistive technology or extra transport.

But in 2015 the government froze the fund and it was put ‘under review’. Three years on, there are still no plans to restore the fund, despite a recommendation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) for it to be restored. Without the financial support provided by the AEOF, many Disabled would-be MPs are effectively prevented from standing for election.

Now more than ever, Disabled people’s voices need to be heard. If there are not enough Disabled MPs who truly understand the barriers and discrimination we face, decisions will continue to be made against our interests. The recent cuts to Personal Independence Payments, the narrowing of social care criteria and the closure of the Independent Living Fund demonstrate this.

Standing for election should be accessible for all. The AEOF must be restored to level the playing field and allow more Disabled candidates to stand for election. Please join Labour’s Emily Brothers, Liberal Democrat David Buxton, the Green Party’s Simeon Hart and More United in their call for the Government to reopen the fund.

Join the campaign and sign the petition here: https://www.moreunited.uk/restore-the-fund

Access For All Southmead

Inclusion Southmead is a friendly group of Disabled and non-disabled residents, working to make Southmead inclusive and accessible for everyone.

We are working with Bristol Disability Equality Forum and The Care Forum on a number of issues, including a lack of access to some of Southmead’s shops, parks and services.

At the top of our current list is access to McColl’s Newsagents and Post Office in Arnside. Although the shop has double doors, these are locked. The only way to get into the shop and Post Office is through a single heavy door, which has a step. There are also displays and shelving blocking access in the shop. This means that some wheelchair users, and other Disabled people are often left outside, whatever the weather. Disabled and older residents have also told us that they have been forced to rely on family or friends to do their shopping, pay their rent or do their Post Office banking for them.

We do not think this is acceptable. All residents should have equal access and choices, no one should be excluded from such an important service in our community.

We have written twice to McColl’s asking for something to be done. After several months we were told that McColl’s had done a site survey, and then put an ‘ask for assistance’ sign and a bell outside of the shop. However, the bell is too high for some to reach, and this had made some people feel even more frustrated and left-out.

McColl’s also said that they cannot do anything in the ‘immediate future’ due to ‘planning consent’. However, Equality law means that businesses must think in advance about what Disabled people need to use their services, and we know that other McColl’s branches are not accessible, including the recently refurbished branch at Pen Park.

So, Inclusion Southmead has decided to hold an ‘Access For All Day’ (A4A) outside McColl’s Arnside on Saturday 21st April, from 11am to 1pm.

We will be asking people to sign a petition to help raise these issues and get Access For All. Please come along, we plan to make this into a fun event for all. We will be there come rain or shine, please join us!

We are also talking to the Council and other groups about the lack of access to Doncaster Park, so that Disabled people no longer have to wait outside whilst their children and grandchildren are playing inside. We want all residents, of all ages, to be able to enjoy Southmead’s parks and community space.

For to find out more, e-mail Deana at zazu@sky.com , or Mike at mike.bristoldef@gmail.com or call 0117 914 052.

Autism Acceptance Week Rather Than Simply Awareness: our need to be heard

What is dubbed autism awareness week will commence between the 26th of March and the 2nd of April, with April itself credited as an autism awareness month. Organisations such as the National Autistic Society are marking the occasion. Yet, while we take the time to celebrate our identity, we autistics will need to consider the challenges we face as a community.

We will also need to deal with the problems we face in education and employment. A 2016 study by the National Autistic Society stated that only 16% of autistics were in employment in the United Kingdom. Access to welfare also poses its own challenge as benefits such as PIP (the Personal Independence Payment), as those with hidden disabilities face a particular barrier in applying for their welfare.

These barriers are not due to our autism, but rather due to a failure by neurotypicals to accept our access needs and due to ableist discrimination. We face stigma by that which instead of trying to understand us would demonise us, as too noted with the anti-vaccination’s movement rhetoric which sets a preference to have dead children rather than healthy living autistic children. Our fellow autistics in America are all too familiar with the hate group that calls itself Autism Speaks, which uses the language of ‘autism awareness’ to promote a discriminative image of autistics, comparing us to cancer. They portray autistic adults and children not as humans but as burdens on society. In the United Kingdom there have been attempts to use “treatments” such as MME (essentially bleach) that are dangerous to autistic folks. There are also mistreatments among services; the National Autism Society has itself proved to be a liability, with the abuse found at the care home they ran in Somerset. Our human rights, as the United Nations notes, have been violated. We also face failures in workplaces and other spaces to adjust to our needs, instead focusing on having us ‘act normal’ rather than accept who we are.

It is critical that the voices of autistic activists are raised against this tide of discrimination against us.

This can be a time of reclaiming. Autism rights advocacy has moved to take April as autism acceptance month. We must ensure that anything about us is not just with us, but by us. To quote the motto of the Disabled People’s Movement, among which is the American based Autistic Self Advocacy Network: “nothing about us without us!” Let us henceforth champion a move away from mere awareness, ‘the about us without us,’ towards acceptance; the of us, by us.  This should be a time for autistics by autistics, not about autistics by allistics AKA non-autistics. We need to raise against our marginalisation, for we must and will stand for our rights.

To my fellow autistics: Let us come together in showing our discontent towards that which marginalises us and campaign for the rights of we and our fellow disabled folks.

To the neutrotypicals reading this: this is our time to speak, not simply to be spoken of. If you wish to ally with us, then we will welcome you as long you do not come in as a “saviour” to speak for us for then you would be hindering us. Autistic people can speak for themselves and we will want you to listen to us.

As a consideration, I would suggest to both my fellow autistics and our allies to read Kit Albrecht’s guide to understand how we move towards a campaign of acceptance.

Together we can stand with our fellow Disabled people for our rights and the rights of all. Disability rights champions a prideful defiance against a society that chooses to marginalise disabled folk at their peril; autistics have their part to play in this boldness.

By George Albert Ayres