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Our impact: Limitless disability and para-cycling programme celebrates successful first year

Our impact: Limitless disability and para-cycling programme celebrates successful first year

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This week our Limitless disability and para-cycling programme celebrates its first birthday, having so far enabled 1,500 riders to experience the joy of cycling through a growing network of clubs nationwide.

Set up to provide regular and inclusive opportunities to ride, 95% of participants say the programme has made them feel more welcome in the sport, and it is hoped that hundreds more clubs will join the network in the years to come.

Instant impact

The success of Limitless has created a wealth of new opportunities for disabled riders across Britain, with the network now extending to a total of 60 clubs across England, Scotland and Wales. 

Since launching, the programme has enabled 1,500 riders to participate in local club sessions, with 82% of riders reporting increased physical wellbeing thanks to the programme, and 73% saying it has benefitted their mental wellbeing.

The activity is only made possible by the dedicated support of club volunteers, and through the programme we continue to provide additional development opportunities for volunteers looking to further strengthen their support for disabled riders. We have been especially keen to create new pathways for disabled volunteers, who currently make up 12% of all volunteers supporting the programme. 

Reflecting on the growth of the programme, British Cycling’s National Disability Manager, Lyndsey Hollands, said:

“The growth of the Limitless network has only been possible thanks to the dedication and commitment of our volunteers and clubs, who have worked tirelessly to place inclusion at the very heart of their work. We know that their impact and success has had a real snowball effect on other clubs in their region, which is fast accelerating us towards a truly nationwide offer of regular club activity for disabled riders.”

para-cycling

Access to funding 

Access to funding has been a longstanding barrier to clubs and providers offering more opportunities for disabled riders to access sport and physical activity.

Thanks to the support of our Official Partner, Shell UK, Limitless Focus Clubs are able to access dedicated funding to break down barriers to participation for disabled riders. Funding can be used towards the purchase of adaptive equipment, maintenance and storage, along with education costs for aspiring coaches and volunteers.

In the first 12 months of the programme, we have made funding awards totalling more than £50,000, with our team continuing to support clubs to access further support in the future.

Anthony Harte, Head of Social Impact for Shell UK, said:

“What an inspirational 12 months for the Limitless programme, delivering real change to support people with a disability in the UK. At Shell UK, we’re proud to support the programme which aims to help disabled riders regularly participate in cycling activities, develop new skills and even progress to national competitions. With this, British Cycling and Shell UK are pushing ahead with our partnership ambitions.”

Pathways into racing

A key focus of the programme has been to integrate Limitless club sessions into the para-cycling competition pathway, providing riders with their first taste of racing in a welcoming and supportive environment.

This has largely been made possible through the delivery of Limitless Race Days, which are entry-level events hosted by clubs with British Cycling’s support. To date there have been 14 such events, which have acted as a vital stepping stone to the National Disability and Para-cycling Series.

It is hoped that the programme will support the development of five riders who will go on to represent ParalympicsGB at the Los Angeles 2028 Paralympic Games. In the first year of delivery, a total of seven riders have progressed from the Limitless programme to participating in British Cycling talent pathway activity.

Daphne Schrager, silver medallist at the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, said:

"Cycling has a unique capacity to change lives, and provides disabled people with a powerful sense of freedom and belonging which is still sadly lacking in so many other areas of life. 

"Watching the Limitless network grow so quickly is testament to hard work of British Cycling and hundreds of club volunteers, and continuing to increase the number of disabled people riding and competing gives a real boost to our hopes of more success at Paralympic Game in years to come."

  Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh

Limitless possibilities

Harnessing the inspiration of the Paralympic Games in Paris this summer, the growth of Limitless is set to accelerate further in its second year, with an ambition to grow the network to 150 clubs by the end of 2024.

At last weekend’s British National Track Championships in Manchester, we welcomed Limitless clubs and riders to the National Cycling Centre, where representatives from Tandem Trekkers, Stockton Wheelers and the Seashell Trust were presented with their Limitless Focus Club plaques by our Royal Patron, The Duchess of Edinburgh.

During the visit Her Royal Highness and The Duke of Edinburgh joined other visitors in experiencing the thrills of riding a recumbent Ice Trike, thanks to our partnership with the adaptive cycle manufacturer.

Clubs, groups and other organisations (such as charities and schools) can begin the process of joining the programme at any time by contacting clubs@britishcycling.org.uk. For participants and parents looking to find a Limitless club in your area, you can find a full list and further information here.