A LITTLE piece of innovative technology made all the difference for a Winnersh girl trying to pass her cycling course.
Sadie Stoddard, who is missing part of her lower right arm and hand due to an upper limb difference, uses a specially adapted bike that allows her to control the handlebars safely.
The bike, adapted by Isla Bikes, has a socket attached to the handlebars that Sadie slots her arm in to provide balance and steering control.
However, Sadie was concerned about maintaining control of the bike whilst signalling with one hand. Safe signalling is an essential part of the Bikeability course she was enrolled on.
“When I first found out about the training, I was excited but also a bit nervous as I knew I would struggle with the signalling,” explained Sadie.
“I have an arm attachment that I normally use. However, using this meant it would be difficult to take my arm out and put it back in whilst maintaining control of the bike.”
TTC Cycling, the company responsible for delivering the training at Winnersh Primary School suggested a technological solution. Using wireless technology, Sadie’s helmet lights up at the back, indicating which way she wants to turn. All she has to do is press left or right on a small controller on the handlebars.
Sadie said: “TTC suggested a special helmet which had lights on the back and indicators – a bit like you get on a car.
“On my bike was a wireless button and I could press left or right and it would signal automatically. The staff were really nice and I felt confident by the end of it. Best of all, I passed!”
Clive Eve, UK Contract Manager, was delighted he could help: “Once I’d spoken to Sadie’s mum Sarah, we understood the challenge she was facing and, using our experience and industry knowledge, came up with a way that enabled her daughter to fulfil her potential using a clever piece of technology.
“We are passionate about making sure that every child has the opportunity to learn to ride a bike and receive training that makes them safer on our streets and roads.”
He added: “This means making courses inclusive as we understand that everyone’s situation is different and offer lots of positive solutions to potential challenges – this starts from the course information and the way our instructors are trained through to the actual delivery of Bikeability where our staff often go above and beyond to help everyone taking part.”
Sadie’s mum Sarah Stoddard added her support: “To have a company ready to positively support and help you with your journey is invaluable and proves ‘where there is a will, there is a way’.
“Using wireless technology, the helmet signals for her, giving Sadie a really innovative yet simple way to communicate to other road users her intentions. It also looked really smart and she left the house feeling very confident, looking forward to her first day of the Bikeability course.”
Bikeability is an improved and more relevant version of the old cycling proficiency scheme and helps more than 50,000 school children every year to safely learn to ride their bikes.
The course, which has three levels, can be delivered individually or in groups at schools, clubs or community events.
Going forward, Sarah, Sadie and her family have been asked to become ambassadors for the Bikeability Trust, where they will help spread the importance of giving children access to the best possible cycle training, help, advice and support.