Don has been volunteering with Sustrans for three years, looking after the National Cycle Network in Dunstable and inspiring others to get active.
Following a second heart attack in 2005, Don started to suffer from depression and no longer had the motivation to cycle. A friend encouraged him to go to a Cycle Forum meeting at the Dunstable Travel Choices Hub, and it was here that Don was introduced to Sustrans and the National Cycle Network.
With support and encouragement, Don soon got back on his bike and now cycles on the Network almost every day. He’s been volunteering with Sustrans over the past three years and has enjoyed every minute.
“ Before volunteering with Sustrans I was in pieces. I’ve changed so much I hardly recognise myself! I’ve met so many fantastic people who have helped me regain my confidence. I now hope I can go on to inspire others. ”
Don leads regular bike rides across Bedfordshire. By encouraging people of all ages to get on their bikes and building their confidence with cycling, Don feels like he is really making a difference in his community:
“Every time I help a child or adult to ride a bike, I feel I’ve done something really valuable. The skills they’ve learnt could even save their life – that’s a great feeling.”
These led rides are crucial in helping to encourage the people in the community to explore their local area by bike.
As well as having positive health benefits, Don's led rides provide a safe space for people to learn how to cycle and gives them the opportunity to socialise with like-minded people.
Don has also recently taken on the role of a Sustrans ranger. He spends a couple of hours each month riding his local route, spotting any signs that are missing, picking up litter and cutting back vegetation that’s invading the path.
He also meets up with other local volunteers to carry out activities as a group, socialising with one another and allowing them to tackle bigger maintenance tasks on the route.