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TANDEM_MAINTANDEMS are helping people with all sorts of mobility problems to enjoy the freedom that cycling provides. But they don’t come cheap, and getting to the few venues where you can hire them for a few hours can be a problem. Charlotte’s Tandems could be the answer . . .

The charity has 100 tandems to loan to disabled people – absolutely free – for about two months. They also have 24 experienced cyclists who provide initial training.

Alex and Kate Reeves, from Gloucestershire, set up the project four years ago – after seeing the benefits that cycling brought to their teenage daughter.

Charlotte, now 17, has severe learning difficulties, severe autism, and is unable to talk.

“But she loves her tandem and gets so much pleasure from cycling,” said Alex. “We wanted to share our love for tandeming with others.”

Brian MacDonald, from Neston, Wirral, was the charity’s first helper and looks after requests from people across Merseyside, Manchester, Cheshire and Staffordshire.

The former marathon runner said: “I’ve been cycling for 18 years – ever since getting over breaking my pelvis while training for a marathon. I love it and being able to help others to enjoy the sense of freedom that cycling gives is fantastic.

So far Brian has helped 85 people with all sorts of disabilities and ages – the youngest rider is four years-old, the oldest, a visually impaired gentleman from Bebington.

“Until I got involved with the charity I had no real connection with disability. Now, thanks to the charity, I am getting so much more out of cycling. I feel I am giving something back to the community.”

DO YOU want to borrow a tandem? Contact the charity via their website.

www.charlottestandems.co.uk