Peter Berry and his bikes

How cycling can improve the wellbeing of people living with dementia

Peter, who is living with dementia, leads a healthy lifestyle and takes care of his well-being. With the help of his friend, Deb, Peter has penned his thoughts about his passion for cycling, and how keeping active is helping Peter live well with dementia.

When I cycle, I leave my dementia at home. I become who I was, not who I am.

I have always had a passion for cycling and now that I cannot work, I have more time to cycle. So, there you are - despite dementia stripping me of so many things, that’s me taking back from dementia. It’s not a one-way street after all.

Peter with a Penny Farthing bike

How cycling helps improve my wellbeing

I’m a great believer that we should take responsibility for our own health and well-being as much as we can.

I eat a good diet, I have recently become vegetarian, and I help my wife prepare our food from scratch. The irony is that post-diagnosis, I am healthier than I was pre-diagnosis, or at least I am from the eyebrows down! 

Cycling is my salvation. With every turn of the pedals, with every mile behind me, I feel stronger.

Cycling helps me regain control

When I cycle, I push my dementia away, into the shade where it stays until I get home. 

Peter with a Penny Farthing bike

Cycling is my medication; the fresh air is my anti-depressant and the sights and sounds of the countryside act as a balm to my hurt mind. (Actually, that last sentence has to go to my friend, Deb, who tells me she has plagiarised Shakespeare’s words. I suppose I have to believe her.)

But the truth is when I cycle, my spirits lift and the cloying thick cloud which was clogging my thoughts are shaken away.

When I cycle, I feel powerful, in control and strong. I get to see the countryside, and sometimes it’s like I am seeing it for the first time.

The world is a wonderful place when viewed through my cyclist’s eyes. Where there were dark and sinister shadows forming from the spectre of my dementia, there is now light and joy. 

I cycle because I love to cycle and it makes me Peter Berry, the cyclist, Peter Berry, the man, not Peter Berry, living with early-onset dementia.

Keeping active and involved

Activities can help you stay independent and provide a great sense of enjoyment. They can also keep you in touch with other people and can improve your quality of life.

Learn more
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Dementia is very scary

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How is Peter doing these days? Keeping strong and present I hope. My dad was called Peter and he lost his battle with dementia in 2017.

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Hi Catherine - sorry for the delay in replying - I am answering on peter's behalf - he is fine, doing lots of cycling and keeping as healthy as possible. I am assuming you know about the book, Slow Puncture, which will be published on Sept 28th this year: a helpful link below for you if you wish to pre-order!!

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Forging ahead into the light , fresh air is so good for us and the wind in your face must really make you feel so alive Brilliant Post Peter #rememberwhenltd love the penny farthing bike .. don’t think I could ride one though .

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We are all so very proud of you

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I used to be a distance runner( did a few marathons) but now am a walker. I walk for an hour or so every day and I find it helps with my memory loss! I got turned around one day on a long run and had to ask for directions, whuich was very humbling and scary!

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Thank you for your words of inspiration Peter. I wish you many more happy miles cycling.

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I have been for a walk this afternoon, about 2.6 miles. Normally, like Peter, I would cycle, and go further, but only had a hour available. Living now in a bungalow in retirement I am well aware that I'm not getting quite as much exercise as when I was cycling to and climbing stairs at work, and at home. I hope my walk today will keep my brain, and muscles, active for that bit longer.

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Your are an inspiration to others living with dementia, showing what can be achieved with determination and support from family and friends

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Well done to Peter and his cycling companions for all he does and shares ,helping people with Dementia.

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