Melanie Hawman, our CEO, writes about her trip to Marston Vale.

"Most people are familiar with the Kubler-Ross stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Her theory can be applied to any significant change whether that is personal or organisational. We use this with our learners at The Disability Resource Centre so that they can better understand and work through any emotional issues that may be connected with their health or disability.

The truth is that all of us can acquire a disability from birth through to death it is how we deal with it and how the society we live in supports us to do this. In order to make the most of the opportunities we have though we have to first work through the change cycle.

Melanie Hawman at Stockwood Park in Luton

Last Sunday was a beautiful day. My daughter and her husband thought it would be great to explore the Forest Centre at Marston Vale – by bike. I thought this was a great idea as to walk causes me a good deal of pain due to severe arthritis. The centre had a good selection of bikes to hire. I tried a comfort model for size and rapidly decided that as I couldn’t even get on it, I would certainly not be able to manage it.

I spotted a “no limits” tricycle in the corner – surely this must be the answer? As I headed uncontrollably up a grassy bank; walkers leapt to safety...apparently not. I started to panic as my lovely daughter and son-in-law waited patiently.

The very kind and patient bike man pumped up the tyres on the four wheeler and on I got again. With fear and trepidation, off I went and amazingly (with a few pushes here and there) not only remained seated but cycled hard for an hour. It was wonderful. Sure I got some funny looks along the way, not the most sporty looking person on not the most sporty looking bike – but I didn’t care as I zipped along.

I never imagined that I would need to go from a two to four wheeler in order to enjoy a normal joyful family experience but as I cycled I resolved that I would set myself a goal of riding the two wheeler by next summer.
The next day I went to the gym and got on a stationary bike and started my training.

This experience clearly demonstrated to me that in order to change, we do need to reach that place of acceptance as to our life situation and adapt our ambitions to start with. Support and patience from others is also required and then (and only then) can we can start confidently anew with different aims towards being the best we can.

My renewed start was made possible through partnership work under the leadership of the “No Limits” project which brought accessible cycling to the Forest Centre and Stockwood Park in Luton. This fantastic project is one of many inclusive sports brought by teambedsandluton to the area, so do check out their website and see what is on offer".