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Ride On/Freemoovement partnership leading to a more active city
Ride On – Cycling for All – a local charity with a vision for a cleaner, healthier and more active Exeter, and Freemoovement, an Exeter-based not-for-profit organisation aiming to get more people moving to benefit their physical and mental health – have been working together, along with the Exeter Cycling Campaign, to get more people active.
For Freemoovement its successful Freewheelin summer cycling programme is being celebrated this Saturday with a Christmas Santa cycle from the Quay to Starcross along the Exe Estuary Trail. People are being encouraged to come along dressed in Santa outfits or as other Christmas themed characters. There will also be an opportunity to contribute a gift to the Salvation Army Christmas shoebox appeal in support of the less fortunate.
Freemoovement Founder, Paul Mouland explains the organisation’s goals. “We are about keeping physical activity simple and supporting each other by taking part in simple activities where the focus is on fun and friendship. “There are no egos, no mirrors, no expensive fees, sportswear or equipment and no expectations, except what individuals place on themselves. Participants can join our activities and work as hard as they feel capable in each session. It’s fun, encouraging, supportive and extremely rewarding.”
The park sessions are run by volunteers and last around 45-60 minutes and can include walking, jogging and light resistance band work, push-ups, tricep dips, squats, lunges, star jumps. The aim is to increase heart rate, improve cardiovascular fitness, build muscular endurance to help strengthen the arms, legs and core and improve mental wellbeing through meeting new people and feeling part of your community.
‘Freewheelin’ ’ is a Freemoovement spin off designed to encourage people to start cycling through low level introductory social bike rides. By teaming up with Ride On, where bikes are reconditioned, repaired and sold at affordable prices, three bike rides a week are organised with up to 30 people attending the busy weekend sessions in the summer.
Freewheelin’ participants are supported with an entry level activity to access cycling. Regular rides take place from Ride On’s base at Exeter Quay, using the Exe Cycle trail and other traffic free cycle routes. Most people bring their own bikes, but those who don’t have a bike can borrow one from Ride on.
The cycling programme is gradual and progressive and involves different activities along the routes, such as family stop offs at local play parks for children, exploration of local nature reserves, cake and coffee breaks at pubs and cafes, beach-based activities and picnics. There are also themed rides that coincide with national and international events.
“Our aim is to support people to change their lifestyles by providing a support network which enables even those who can’t afford special equipment to develop more sustainable travel choices,” adds Paul.
The success of Freewheelin’ has led to the introduction of Cycle Confidence sessions. These free two-hour sessions are on offer to adults to help them improve their cycling skills and stay safe on two wheels.
The sessions are completely tailored to individual requirements, can take place close to participants’ homes or workplaces and it is possible to request a same sex instructor.
For more information about Freemoovement and Freewheelin’ go to the Freemoovement website at freemoovement.com or have a look at their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
For more information on Ride On go to the rideoncycling.org website or Facebook or Twitter accounts.