An eighty one year old widower’s rekindled love of cycling has given him a fresh lease of life, following the loss of his wife to Parkinson’s disease.
Grandad-of-four, Joe Canetti from Hunter’s Bar, Sheffield, got back on a bike after 52 years in his search for something to do to help him battle his grief, and a shock diagnosis of cancer. Now on the road to recovery, Joe cycles an 18 mile round trip to Meadowhall Shopping Centre every week, and has rubbed shoulders with cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy.
Joe lost his wife, Pauline, to Parkinson’s disease in 2012, having spent nearly six decades by her side. Two days after her funeral, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Though his treatment was successful, Joe struggled to come to terms with his loss and recognised the need to do something with himself. Six months after his life-saving surgery, he saw an advert in his post office for a local CycleBoost scheme and signed up.
CycleBoost offers residents in Sheffield of all ages and abilities the chance to try cycling for free for four weeks, and includes the hire of a bike and accessories. Dr. Bike sessions, maintenance classes and cycle skills training help with gaining confidence on the roads. The government-backed scheme also gives participants the opportunity to purchase the bike at the end of the trial at a reduced price.
Joe said: “I hadn’t cycled in 52 years. It was quite difficult at first but I soon got back into it, and within six to eight weeks I was cycling on the roads. I took part in the road safety course and at the end of the hire period, I purchased the bike.
“It’s a fantastic scheme, and I’ve made lots of friends. I feel much fitter and happy again. I would recommend the scheme to others. The maintenance sessions are great and I’ve learnt how to fix a puncture. The training has given me the confidence I needed. I now cycle every week to Meadowhall and back home which is an 18 mile round trip.”
Joe’s new found confidence and love of the sport inspired him to share his story through a national competition organised by Sky Sports and The Telegraph, which he went on to win - spending a track day with six-times Olympic Champion Sir Chris Hoy at the Manchester Velodrome in July.
Joe said: “I couldn’t believe I won first prize and I got to go to the Velodrome, it was such an honor to meet Chris Hoy. He’s a lovely man, it was a great day.”
CycleBoost is delivered by Inmotion! through South Yorkshire’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund. For more information about this winter’s training and maintenance courses contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit inmotion.co.uk/pedal