Do you enjoy cycling and chatting? Have you a few spare hours to be more connected in your community? We are always looking for more volunteers!
Pilots are volunteers who pick passengers up from the care home (or other venue) and take them out for a spin, around parks, cycle paths and on quiet roads. You will be offering not only your leg power but also an hour or two of cheerful company, supporting your passengers to enjoy the experience of being out and about. You need to be a confident cyclist but not a super-sporty one, as the bike has a powerful electric motor. Have fun and make a difference!
“It was brilliant, really well organised and the people going for rides were chatty and loved the experience” Matt
What we provide:
- Initial training (more info below)
- DBS check, risk assessment, insurance and guidelines for working with older people.
- Guidance on route planning. Co-ordination for scheduling, introduction to care homes.
- A social group of other local pilots, time to share stories, worries and tips.
Our regular slots in S11/S10 are currently Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings, with some additional slots at other times of week. We need new pilots to be able to make at least one of our regular slots, with a usual commitment roughly every 2-3 weeks. We are hoping to add a few more regular slots in summer 2023.
Our regular activities in S8 (Lowedges and Jordanthorpe) are a slot every Wednesday morning, and monthly on Tuesday mornings.
We are also very keen to recruit new pilots to our ‘Doorstep Ride’ team based in Lowedges. For this service the times of your volunteering are very flexible and you take out the same passenger a few times in a row (see ‘Our Passengers’ for more info). Again, a usual commitment of roughly every 2-3 weeks.
We use an online volunteer management system that means rides are pre-scheduled and pilots sign up for slots convenient for them. So you do not need to volunteer on the same day or at the same location. While the passenger ride time is usually 1 – 1.5 hours, the overall volunteering slot is usually around 2 – 2.5 hours.
If you want to train to be a pilot you will need to sign up to our online booking system. You will then be able to book on one of our evening induction sessions where you’ll find out all about what we do and what’s involved. You’ll also start the process of getting a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check.
Training on use of the tri-bikes is a three-hour session learning/revising basic cycle skills and becoming familiar with the specific aspects of being a tri-bike pilot. It is run by a Pedal Ready accredited cycle trainer. Then you are ready to practice – we encourage you to do this with other trainees from your induction and tri-bike training session so you can encourage each other and also have experiences of both cycling and being a passenger. Going on a number of practice rides is essential to gain confidence and skills before piloting solo. We have a ‘trainee supporter’ set-up where each cohort of trainees is matched to an experienced pilot who is dedicated to your progress.
You’re now ready to go! Select a slot with one of our care homes using the on-line booking system and enjoy the ride and the company. For your first ‘lead ride out’ you will be accompanied by an experienced pilot for general back-up and debrief.
We usually run training in small groups of 3-6 pilots, and hold induction sessions roughly every couple of months.
Find out more
If you are interested in finding out more please contact us using our Contact Us form. Feel free to ask us any questions! We will email back to you with more detailed information. If you then want to go ahead we will let you know about upcoming training sessions. Depending on what is currently going on we can also arrange a time for you to have a taster go on the tri-bike, or cycle alongside one of our regular rides out.
Please note that though we try to answer enquiries promptly we are all volunteers with busy lives aside from CWA and sometimes there may be a few days delay.