Free Wheel North is a Glasgow-based cycling development charity working towards creating a fairer, healthier society by enabling people of all ages and abilities to cycle as part of their everyday lives.
The inspiration for Free Wheel North came after founder Norman Armstrong offered to help his visually impaired friend cycle around Glasgow on a tandem bike. He wanted to give other disabled people the same chance to enjoy the fresh air and exercise, and the charity that followed was set up to make cycling accessible to all.
Free Wheel North now offers every conceivable form of pedal power. Two wheelers, trikes, hand-cranks, adapted bikes, go-karts, side-by-sides, wheelchair carrying bikes, tandems, family bikes and a seven-seater ‘conference’ bike are all stored in their colourful shipping container base on Glasgow Green.
Those with disabilities are not separated from people with conventional abilities and anyone can have a go on any of the various bikes. People learning how to ride for the first time or trying out a new bike are taught on the enclosed cycle track, while those more confident on their wheels can take them for a spin also.
The charity is passionate about reclaiming public space and making it accessible for disabled people and they have been instrumental in organising car-free days where parents can safely let their children ride on the empty streets and enjoy the mental health benefits of play.
Free Wheel North has benefited from several grants from The National Lottery over the years enabling the project to grow, open a social enterprise café on site and ensure many more disabled people are able to enjoy the freedom of pedal power.
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