Mayor Rufia Ashraf gives patronage to new Cycle for Health initiative founded by 73-year-old

The founder also runs an over-60's cycling club that he says has been extremely successful

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 7:30 am
The Mayor visits an early meeting of the new-formed group

Members of a new club will soon be riding to better health as Northampton's Mayor teams up with a veteran cyclist to share his love of cycling with others.

Cycle for Health has the stated aim of easing people into, or back into, cycling. By offering beginners sessions, as well as bikes and helmets for free, it is hoped that people who have previously dropped cycling, or never touched a pedal before, can all get involved.

The group is founded and chaired by David Cooper, a soon-to-be 74-year-old that hardly feels 'a day over 50'.

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Despite having to deal with both Spondylosis of the spine and mild Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), (degeneration and pain in the spine, and some difficulty breathing respectively), David is already the leader of an over-60's cycling group that has been going for eight years. It was this experience that inspired David to launch the health-driven effort.

David said: "We're aiming to get people back into sports by getting into cycling. It gets you healthy and it keeps you fit.

"You don't realise while you're doing it, but cycling is a full-body workout, except you have the social side as well.

"Cycling helps to improve your lung capacity, your blood flow and so much more.

"I'm almost 75 and don't feel a day over 50.

"So get in touch and ride yourself to good health."

The new club has already found support from Northampton's Mayor, Labour Councillor Rufia Ashraf, who has been made the club's patron.

Northamptonshire Police has weighed in as well, donating 50 older bikes to the cause. While many of the bikes may need some work, the hope is their inclusion will push the fleet to at least 54 bikes, with four of the founder's own bikes also donated.

Sessions will begin with short journeys, on cycle paths well away from roads and traffic, so that everyone can learn at their own pace. As they grow in confidence, so too can the distance, if the participants choose.

Mayor Ashraf said she has happily leant her support to the club. According to the Mayor, she and David share a strong passion for mental health support, which the social as well as fitness aspects should help to improve.

The Mayor said: "David and I are very positive people. Our focus is on individuals' health and wellbeing.

"Balancing diet as well as fitness will have a massive impact on their lives. They will not be ignored.

"What we say is come along. If you don't like it, you don't like it. But come along and see what you find.

The club is currently negotiating to be able to use a local site to permanently store their bikes and get them up to code, ready for their new riders.