Melvyn Ollerenshaw – February 2020 

Melvyn Ollerenshaw – Aged 76

In November 2017 Melvyn had 2 strokes, one after another. He was taken to Hallamshire hospital where they ‘smashed up his blood clots’.  Melvyn says he is lucky. After the strokes he had very little use of his left side, and arm. He couldn’t walk very well and was tired very easily.

Sometime in 2018 his wife was watching Look North, and saw Sheffield Cycling 4 All were on.  She then searched online to find us (thank you Look North!).

Melvyn hasn’t cycled since he was 10-11 years old.  Back then he would go everywhere on his bike, even cycling from Sheffield to Doncaster to see the trains.

“I used to make good use of it”, he says. Then, ‘since the invention of the motor car’ he never really bothered with cycling and says,

“I never thought about joining a club, but I am in one now”, although being in a club isn’t important to Melvyn, he comes to improve his fitness.

He has been cycling with Sheffield Cycling 4 All for about a year and a half now.  When he first started, he would cycle around the basketball pitch (about 400m). Within a couple of months, he was cycling around the whole park, hills and all. Now Melvyn is doing 7 laps of the park in 2 hours! He is a machine!

Melvyn says he is invigorated by cycling,

“I’m just so pleased that I can cycle, I am getting better and better.”

Melvyn tries to come to Sheffield Cycling 4 All once a week (and to our Saturday session when he can), as well as going to the gym twice a week.  In July 2019, Melvyn took part in the HSBC UK City Ride Sheffield. Starting at Endcliffe Park, the route takes you through to the city centre on traffic free roads. He loved it, saying,

“It was a great achievement.”

Melvyn is cycling easily now.  He said that he started using 1st or 2nd gears only but is now using 3rd and 4th gears to get around. Melvyn feels engaged with the Sheffield Cycling 4 All community, but says that he is a quiet, anti-social type.  Despite this, he is a favourite among our volunteers.  Melvyn hasn’t asked, but our volunteer’s take it in turns to get a bike over to his car, so that he doesn’t have as far to walk. They know which bike he has (Van Raam Easy rider), where his seat needs to go, and which pedal to swap to a more supportive one.

When Melvyn is asked if he feels more confident and better about himself since starting cycling with us, he replies,

“I do.”

After the strokes Melvyn had to get used to his body again which was hard, it moved and acted differently than it did before, and the changes were sudden.  Melvyn is learning to enjoy the challenges and achievements his body is giving him.  He is proud of increasing the gears on the bike and the HSBC ride, and is looking forward to his next challenge of swimming.

Mel is hiding, centre back, in a Superman T-shirt.

Emily – February 2020

Emily – aged 9, on her visit to SC4A

We first heard about Emily when we were approached by Nina from the Sheffield Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (SHASBAH). She was looking for a bike that 9-year-old Emily could borrow so that she could take part in Bikeability cycle training at her school. Emily’s mum, Helen, said,

“I always try to get Emily involved in everything that the school does. Emily has Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus and struggles with mobility. I purchased a ‘normal’ bike and paid for some adjustments in the hope Emily would be able to use it but unfortunately this was not the case.”

When Nina contacted us, we suggested that our solo hand cycle might be suitable for Emily, however we were concerned that it might be too big for her. She came down to one of our sessions to try it out and was glad to find that the bike was a good fit. Emily had a great time riding on the hand cycle and also enjoyed riding together with her mum on the tandem hand cycle. Helen said,

“The visit to Sheffield Cycling 4 All was, in one, word – fantastic!!  They made us feel so welcome, the staff were friendly, helpful, and made 2 nervous people feel fine and at ease.”

Emily and mum, Helen, on the tandem hand cycle

Nina picked up the bike and took it to Emily’s school,

“Her face lit up when she saw the bike turn up at school and she couldn’t wait till Monday to get started,” said Helen. “Bikeability was great, Emily loved every second on the bike, even using it at playtimes in school. It was all she could talk about, and how much she felt included.”

The family have plans to ride together at Sheffield Cycling 4 All sessions in the future and eventually would like Emily to have a hand cycle of her own.

“Can I say a massive thank you to all at Sheffield Cycling 4 All for making my daughters year, and for making a mum very proud of her little girl,” said Helen. “Without yourselves and Nina I don’t think this would’ve been possible. Emily says a big thank you for letting her borrow the bike to do as her friends do at school.”

Emily during the Bikeability cycle training