A group of eight people, some of whom hadn't been on a bike for decades, have unexpectedly become staunch cheerleaders for Whanganui's shared pathways.

They're participants in Cycle Forward, a national pilot programme for people with arthritis being trialled in Whanganui.

It was launched this year by Arthritis New Zealand and Whanganui District Council and the first six-week course began in mid-March. The programme has funding from ACC for three years.

Let's Go Whanganui cycle skills co-ordinator Greg Fromont said for some of the people in the first group of eight, Cycle Forward had been life-changing. Another group of four

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