Welsh political leaders in bike race for accessible sport

23 June 2017

Wales’s political leaders took part in a different type of leadership race this week.

Neil Heslop and Andrew RT Davies on static bikesAndrew RT Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives, joined the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, and UKIP Wales leader Neil Hamilton for a pedal-off inside the Senedd.

Each taking their place on static bikes, specially-adapted for use for disabled people, the politicians were racing as part of charity Leonard Cheshire Disability’s event to promote inclusive sport in Wales.

A total of 20 assembly members and ministers took their turns on the static bikes to see how far they could pedal in 100 seconds. Their competitive sides were brought out by Leonard Cheshire’s leaderboard, which marked who rode the furthest.

Bethan Jenkins AM on a static bikeThe overall winners were Darren Millar AM from the Conservative party, and Bethan Jenkins AM from Plaid Cymru, who both cycled 1.3km in a minute and forty seconds.

The assembly members and ministers were joined on the bike by Neil Heslop, chief executive of Leonard Cheshire Disability. Neil said:

‘At Leonard Cheshire, we are passionate about working for a society in which every person is equally valued. We believe that disabled people should have the freedom to live their lives the way they choose, with the opportunity and support to live independently and participate fully in society.

‘A big part of this is making sport as accessible as possible.’

Also attending the event were Welsh disabled people who use Leonard Cheshire services. 

Leonard Cheshire research shows as much appetite for sport and exercise among disabled people as there is in the wider population, but there are barriers to participation. 57% of disabled people are doing no sport or exercise, compared to just 24% of non-disabled people. 41% of disabled people say there are no opportunities suitable for them.

This event follows Leonard Cheshire’s ‘Tour de Cymru’, a 350-mile bike ride across Wales that took place last month. The challenge was taken on by nine amateur cyclists, who between them raised over £10,000 for disabled access to sport in Wales.

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