Registrations are open for the next intake of the Cycle Forward programme, which aims to encourage people with arthritis to start cycling, return to cycling, or keep cycling – and an event is being held to promote participation.

Representatives from Arthritis New Zealand, Whanganui District Council and Whanganui Multisport Club will be at Article, 20 Drews Avenue, on Wednesday 21 August between 3.30pm and 5.00pm to celebrate the existing Cycle Forward group and invite new members to register for the six-week programme. Nibbles will be provided and there will be the chance to hear from previous participants and Arthritis New Zealand Educator, Lori Davis. To be added to the guest list for the Article event, RSVP to bookings@arthritis.org.nz or 0800 663 463.

Caption: Whanganui Multisport Club Co-ordinator Greg Fromont, Arthritis New Zealand Educator Lori Davis, and Whanganui District Council Active Transport Facilitator Norman Gruebsch

Ms Davis says, “We warmly welcome people to join us at Article Café to hear more about Cycle Forward. So far we have had two groups complete the programme, and there has been some real success stories come out of it.”

Cycle Forward Instructor Elaine Baker says better physical fitness has led to improved quality of life for participants.

Mrs Baker says prior to completing the programme one participant had been barely able to walk on a Monday after dancing on the weekend. “Now she can quite happily go for a bike ride on Monday and is no longer having to put her life on hold because of pain from her arthritis.”

As well as physical gains, participants have enjoyed the social interaction. Mrs Baker says another participant said until she did the programme “she didn’t realise her arthritis had kept her quite isolated, and she’s found having a group of people to connect with for exercise hugely beneficial emotionally.”

Ms Davis says Cycle Forward instructors are “very responsive with creating individualised programmes, targeting specific cycling skills and organising ride times that suit participants.”

Once participants finish the course, they can keep the momentum going by joining a group of Cycle Forward graduates who regularly cycle together.

Anyone interested in registering for the Cycle Forward programme can email lori.davis@arthritis.org.nz or phone 0800 663 463.

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