Isabelle Clement, Wheels for Wellbeing, and their work helping disabled people cycle more

Isabelle Clement is the director of Wheels for Well-Being, a charity dedicate to helping disabled people cycle more, through both their sessions giving people in London with a hug range of disabilities try a massive range of bikes, and through their national campaigning work.  She told me all about these aspects of her work, and talks about barriers to disabled people cycling, both physical, in terms of infrastructure, and emotional, as well as the charity’s successes, plans for the future, and what we can all do to help support disabled people’s cycling.

Listen here, or download on Soundcloud.

You can sign up for automatic podcast downloads via the iTunes store here or via our RSS feed here.

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Watch these films of Isabelle riding her wheelchair cycle around London and read her article from the Guardian last year about disabled people’s cycling.

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Sarah interviews… Isla Rowntree, on transforming cycling

Isla Rowntree is most well-known for starting IslaBikes, a company that transformed children’s bicycles, with all kinds of child-friendly innovations.  If you look up reviews, or ask online, they’re always the top recommendation and influencer, and right now there are kids everywhere loving cycling because of Rowntree’s work.

But she’s also helped transform women’s cycling before that, being a key figure in the fight to let women race cyclocross.  When Rowntree started, the GB National Championships were only for men, as were the World Cups and World Championships – and she was a major part of the fight to change that.

And she doesn’t stop taking risks and fighting for change.  Rowntree is currently working on the Imagine Project, to make children’s bikes sustainable, in a future where resources will become scarcer – through recycling, but also exciting new models of renting rather than buying bikes.  It’s a fascinating project – and as she says, a risky one personally and for her company.

We talk about all that, the challenges of effecting change – and you can listen to our conversation, or read the transcript below.

We didn’t get into the questions specifically about children’s bikes, because there are a lot of interviews with Rowntree about that out there.  A selection of interviews and articles:

And more about the Imagine ProjectBBC news item on the Circular Economy and on the project, and interviews on the Guardian and Cyclesprog – and watch the video:

Find out more about Islabikes on their website, twitter, facebook, instagram and YouTube – including their great articles on teaching a child to ride, cycling to school, and lots of ideas and tips including riding as a family, starting kids racing and more. And you can follow Isla Rowntree on her twitter too.

If you want your child to test-ride a bike, there are events all over the UK – including the Islabikes pop-up shop in Battersea, on 7-9th April 2017.

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ProWomensCycling:  Can you start by telling us a little bit about how you got into cycling?

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#WeWantRVVLive – telling the world how much we want to see the women’s Ronde van Vlaanderen

Update!  Since we all started tweeting #WeWantRVVlive, there’s been a development, and it’s good news!

Now, it’s not perfect – this stream is for subscribers to Belgian TV/telecoms/internet company Proximus only… so far!  But maybe that will change too, if eg a company like Eurosport buys the rights, and we can always ask them!

Is it because of the hashtag campaign?  Very hard to tell.  We know even a few weeks ago, the Ronde van Vlaanderen organisers and Sporza were telling journalists and fans that no, there wouldn’t be a stream, because of budget issues.  So it could have been a coincidence, and they’d found the cash and this just brought the announcement forward, or it could have been a response to the campaign.

But you know what?  It doesn’t matter!  There is literally no downside to women’s cycling fans coming together and showing that hell yes, we want to see the women’s Ronde van Vlaanderen live, and that there is a ton of demand for all women’s cycling races.

It sometimes doesn’t feel like much, to write a tweet, or a facebook message, or send an email – but together, our efforts combine, and we can change the sport!

So, please do tweet to the Ronde van Vlaanderen organisers, Sporza and Proximus, and thank them for putting on the stream, or contact them on facebook, instagram, or through whatever channels you prefer (find the links on their websites: the RvV, Sporza and Proximus – you may need to scroll right down) – and please do ask your local TV broadcaster if they’ll consider buying it too.  Use the #WeWantRVVLive hashtag, and #RvVwomen while you do it, and share and like other people’s social media, and who knows, maybe we’ll have more good news!

Now, for the original story…

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