A cycling enthusiast who is blind has got back in the saddle for the first time in 15 years thanks to a clever idea from his carers.
Bob Smith loved nothing more as a youngster than to get behind the handlebars and take to the open road.
But his deteriorating eyesight led to Bob having to give up cycling in 2003 – and he thought he would never get the chance again.
That was until those caring for him bought a tailor-made tandem bike.
The 68-year-old, who suffers from other health problems, said he has been given a new lease of life thanks to the bike – and cannot wait for more cycling adventures in the spring.
“It was a great feeling to be back on a bike again. It gives me something to look forward to and is helping me keep fit and active,” said Bob, who lives at the VSA-run Westerton Crescent Care Home in Northfield.
He added: “I am looking forward to cycling the railway line and other trips on it once the weather is nicer in the spring.”
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Bob comes from Leicester and has lived in Aberdeen for many years.
He said: “I was never off my bike as a kid. I have never been able to drive so cycling is a great way of getting around.”
Bob suffers from glaucoma which led to his vision deteriorating.
He moved into Westerton Crescent in 2001.
“I was still able to go out on my bike, but after a couple of years it became too dangerous and I had to stop,” said Bob.
He added: “Recently I mentioned I used to really love cycling and I would like to do that again and the centre staff were really helpful.”
After Bob enjoyed a ride on a tandem bike at Garioch Sports Centre, VSA staff ordered a bike from Holland.
It allows him to steer it and pedal while a passenger can “be his eyes”.
Bob said: “It is a great feeling to be back out again. I love feeling the breeze in my hair. The double pedalling is very useful for the hills too as we can share the strain.”
The home’s manager Scott Macleod said staff were happy to help Bob reignite his cycling passion. “Our emphasis is on helping people with daily tasks and anything they want to achieve,” he added.