Twin ambitions for cycling couple in Enterprise Challenge

10th September 2014

Business ambitions and personal happiness go in tandem for Belinda Noda and Paul Stanton who are developing a bicycle made for two with a difference.

The married pair's Daisy Bell bicycle, enables able-bodied Paul and wheelchair user Belinda, a Sheffield Hallam University graduate in environmental management, to travel alongside one another in companionship. The pair even used the bike to travel to their wedding - and now they hope to ride away with the University's annual Enterprise Challenge award on Thursday 2 October. Belinda, 55, from York, says she came up for the idea for Cycle In Company after being left disappointed by the tandem bicycles available to people who are unable to cycle independently. She said: "Paul and I tried out one design where I was transported, wheelbarrow-style, on the front of his normal bicycle. I felt vulnerable and isolated - we just couldn't communicate and the experience wasn't shared." Then the intrepid pair found a second-hand bike called The Discoverer, a side-by-side invented in Birmingham by Roger Taft 20 years ago. Belinda, who was paralysed from the chest down at the age of 27 when the driver of the van she was travelling across the USA in fell asleep at the wheel, said: "The Discoverer's linking system enabled a wheelchair to be attached and detached when necessary. -The design meant that the bike was easier to transport on an ordinary bike rack or even a train. On outings we can stop, detach my chair and head for the pub." Now the pair are hoping to develop the linking system to make it lighter and simpler to attach and detach. They also plan an electric assisted alternative the Daisy Power. A host of local companies and innovators are already interested. The pair have enjoyed cycling holidays on the Caledonian Canal and the Leeds to Liverpool Canal, cycled from Arbroath to Dundee, traversed long stretches of the Trans Pennine Trail and enjoyed a two-week cycling holiday in The Netherlands with Belinda's three daughters. Now the couple are hoping to win the Enterprise Challenge, now in its 14th year, and develop the bike alongside a company such as competition sponsor Gripple. Belinda added: -We pedalled around Gripple's offices and they loved it. I am very grateful to the Sheffield Hallam Research and Innovation Office, who have given me the opportunity to see what is possible - even at my age. Cycle in Company is launching in a year when the University has sponsored Le Grand Depart, the Yorkshire leg of the Tour de France. Sheila Quairney, head of enterprise at the University's Research and Innovation Office, said: "It is great to see a cycle-inspired entry in this year's Enterprise Challenge following our memorable involvement in Le Grand Depart. "Belinda and Paul have created an innovative and sustainable concept which is already attracting business interest." Enterprise Challenge is run by the University's Research and Innovation Office and is open to current students and graduates from the last five years. This year's awards dinner is on Thursday 2 October and prizes of more than £5,000 are up for grabs.

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