York & North Yorkshire

Blind North Yorkshire great-grandmother cycles again

Alice Wilson on tandem Image copyright Yorkshire Bank Bike Library
Image caption Alice Wilson used to cycle everywhere until she lost her sight

A great-grandmother who was forced to give up cycling after losing her sight has started riding again with help from a charity.

Alice Wilson, 82, who used to rely on her bike to get her everywhere, became partially blind four years ago.

She has now started cycling on a tandem provided by the Yorkshire Bank Bike Library.

Mrs Wilson from North Yorkshire said getting back in the saddle was "the most wonderful thing in the world".

"I never drove a car and I used to cycle everywhere," she said.

"I didn't want to give my bike up, but I had to."

"It's wonderful to be back on a bike and we went to Leeds and did about 20 miles on one of my first rides.

"It felt like I had my freedom back and just being able to hold the handle bars again was great."

The bike library was set up in 2014 after the Tour de France started its race in Yorkshire.

Unwanted bikes are donated to the charity which repairs them and then loans them out for free at 61 "libraries" across the county.

Since the scheme started more than 6,000 bikes have been recycled.

Image copyright Yorkshire Bank Bike Library
Image caption Alice Wilson often goes out on the tandem with Rob Brown, who runs the Scarborough bike library

Rob Brown, who runs the Scarborough branch, said Mrs Wilson had "blossomed" since she started riding again.

The pair met when Mr Brown started talking to her when she was walking her guide dog Quaver along the sea front.

"As an elderly lady it's easy to feel a bit invisible, but Alice has become an ambassador for the scheme," Mr Brown said.

"She always talks to other people about it and encourages other members of the sight support group to have a go."

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