Wigan care village pensioners are pedalling for victory

Residents Norman Thomas and Audrey Johnson taking on the cycling competition at Belong Wigan
Residents Norman Thomas and Audrey Johnson taking on the cycling competition at Belong Wigan

A Briton may not have won the famous yellow jersey in in this year’s Tour de France, but a group of Wigan care village residents are hoping for home success on the international stage as they take on the rest of the world in the Road World for Seniors 2019 indoor cycling competition.

Gym instructor Ryan Cadman, of care village Belong Wigan, was coaching residents ahead of the global competition in the Platt Bridge village’s state-of-the-art fitness and rehabilitation facilities, which are used to enable exercise and rehabilitation for residents and members of the community.

He believes the challenge gives residents, some of whom live with dementia, added motivation to engage in exercise programmes, which help improve the health and well-being of older people.

Belong Wigan’s apartment tenants, day customers and residents have been teaming up since September 2 participating in relay on the latest indoor cycle equipment, donated by event organiser Motitech.

The cycle, which can be pedalled with hands and feet, allows the team to enhance their mobility and explore the world through an attached TV screen, enabling riders a choice of 1,000 virtual race routes on which to tackle their challenge as they compete against counterparts in care homes around the world.

During the contest’s 25 days, participants try to cover the greatest distance possible. Total mileage recorded by the equipment is fed to race organisers and the Wigan residents will be hoping to get their name on the trophy when the winners are announced on the September 27. Trophies will be awarded for male and female cyclists, plus an overall team award.

The annual event coincides with the official Union Cycliste Internationale Road World Championship for bicycle road racing, and gives people living in care homes the opportunity to become dedicated athletes, competing in an international cycling competition, aimed at improving mobility and promoting physical activity for older people.

Ryan said: “The Road Worlds for Seniors 2019 is a great opportunity for our customers to engage with exercise in an interactive way.

“At Belong, we already provide physical activities that will stimulate the mind and body of people living with dementia and other conditions, and this competition will be another opportunity to get even more people involved.

“We hope to win it but if not, it will provide great physical benefits, and help to improve further the well-being of all those involved.”