Lamel Beeches was one of the first care homes that signed up to Cycling Without Age York’s pilot project when it launched in October 2018.
Joyce lives in Lamel Beeches and has been a regular passenger on the Cycling Without Age bike rides. She moved from Lincolnshire to York in August and the bike rides have become a way in which she engages with her local environment as well as a new stage in her life. Never put off by the weather, Joyce has been out on the bike throughout the winter months, and says they are something she always looks forward to. In an interview with “That’s TV York” Joyce described the rides as “freedom”.
Joyce always rides on the front of the bike with volunteer Andy on a Friday morning. Andy is a regular volunteer at Lamel Beeches and socialises with the residents and helps them get out and about, usually using a wheelchair, to explore the grounds of the care home. He also does social visits within the home and has built up relationships with the residents, including Joyce. The Cycling Without Age rides are something a bit different as they allow Joyce and Andy to experience moving together and to chat with each other on the bike, as well as explore the local area surrounding Lamel Beeches.
On the day of this interview Joyce has opted to ride to the Minster, a new route that has been scoped out and risk assessed by one of the volunteer pedallers. She also enjoys the route that takes her round Rowntrees Park, but today she felt more in the mood for the hustle and bustle of the Minster.
I followed my fellow pedaller, Nick, on my own bike during this ride and we stopped off by the Minster to have a chat with Joyce and Andy to find out a bit more about their experiences of the programme. It was a bright but blustery day and busy as usual with tourists and shoppers.
Emily: Joyce, can you tell me about how you first heard about the rides?
Joyce: Well I think one of you girls came along and explained it with Vicki, who told me about it (Vicki is the activity co-ordinator at Lamel Beeches).
Emily: And what was your first thought when someone said, “we are going to put you on a bike?!”
Joyce: Well – alright!
Joyce: Well yes, I used to ride a bike myself, and the idea of getting out was too good to miss.
Emily: Where did you used to cycle?
Joyce: Well, just really around the streets. I didn’t do any big bike rides in the countryside. But…its always very interesting, you always see something, theres people to talk to….
Emily: So its quite a social thing for you?
Emily: What about these bike rides, do you find them quite a sociable experience?
Joyce: Well yes…I always look forward to them.
Emily: Is there anything in particular you like about the rides?
Joyce: Well, the fact that you are here among people, and you get to see things, places, where you used to walk, so its nice.
Emily: Does it bring back memories at all?
Joyce: Yes, yes.
Emily: And what about Andy, is it nice having a chat with Andy?
Andy: You put up with me don’t you!
Joyce: Well…his wife doesn’t mind! And its lovely…being out in the sunshine.
Emily: And you’ve been out over the winter too, haven’t you? Does it matter much about the weather?
Joyce: No, well its just very good of people to give their time up.
Andy: Its really just getting out in the fresh air, in a different environment really…you can get so much stuck in your ways, stuck in your room, so its an opportunity to get out, see life on the other side!
Emily: I suppose it’s a different pace as well isn’t it? Because I know you and Joyce sometimes go out in the wheelchair, round the grounds?
Andy: Yes, and certainly when the bikes are not running, we’ll go out on the grass round the retreat, which is nice.
Emily: Brilliant – have you any other thoughts about the rides?
Joyce: Well I mean, its something to look forward to, and I think we are very fortunate!
Emily: What about you Andy, how has your experience been, you must have been on more rides than anyone else!?
Andy: Yes, we should call it “Andy’s tours” really! So, as I say, without the volunteers the ladies wouldn’t be able to go out because they always need someone with them, and the carers are busy looking after the other residents, so its an opportunity for me to go out and meet some of the residents as well as doing the one-to-ones on the other days, the other volunteering, yeah its good, its good. And, as I say, I get to see some places that I didn’t know about…
Emily: Yes I was going to ask, have you gone to places you haven’t been before?
Andy: Yes, and some friends have seen me out on the bike too, they say, “I saw you today!”
Emily: And what is the reaction from the public in general when you are out and about on the bike?
Joyce: Well they mostly walk past…
Andy: Yeah – actually the cyclists are more positive, and then the other people, they just kind of stare and think – “wow!”
Emily: haha – a bit shocked perhaps!
Joyce: Yeah…its something to look forward to.
Emily: I’m glad you enjoy them.
Joyce: I mean – look at the sky! (Joyce looks upwards and points) Isn’t it beautiful!
Emily: Yeah…I think you can take it for granted sometimes!
Andy: Yeah…I think its just a pity there isn’t more bikes, because theres only a limited amount of residents that we can take out…and if the home was in a different location, closer to the river or the Minster, it wouldn’t take 20 minutes to get there, 20 minutes back, it would take 10 minutes to get there, 10 minutes back, you could get more people out…
Emily: So it would open up more opportunities?
Andy: Yeah…its just being able to get more people out, away from the home really, give people some idea about what’s happening in the outside world…
Emily: And do you think interest is there, in Lamel Beeches, do you tell people about the rides that you go on?
Joyce: Oh yes
Emily: What do they say?
Joyce: Well they are envious!
Interview by Emily Tupper, Volunteer Pedaller for Cycling Without Age, on 21 June 2019, by York Minster