I have started sharing stories of ladies who are an inspiration to me as part of the campaign from British Cycling #OneInAMillion. This is looking to help, inspire and encourage one million more women to choose cycling by tackling common misconceptions that can make it trickier to get on a bike. From concerns over safety, confidence, or simply not knowing where to go.
I am proud to be a part of this campaign and and even more pleased to be able to introduce you to some more awesome ladies who I am grateful to for contributing to this post.
First up we have Lee, a lady I met through Havering Tri, also known as sparkles as she is known for all things that are pink and that glitter (a woman after my own heart). Lee is also a continuous source of support for me when I have wobbles and worry about my ability – always with the right thing to say!
‘So I learned to ride a bike as a kid & was always out on my BMX with my friends. Growing up I always had a bike – at 6th form, university …. it was always there to get around … but rarely actually used as other priorities took over my life in my 20’s.
I’ve always been active & sporty & back in 2011, when I was probably my most inactive & unfit, I rediscovered how great cycling was for seeing places & exploring.
I signed up to do an event called the London Bikeathon (pre Ride100) with some colleagues from work & cycled … on a mountain bike, in my trainers from the Thames barrier out to Richmond & back. It was tough but such good fun. I remember hitting the hills in Richmond Park and watching all these people fly past me on their sleek road bikes & wanting to cry.
After signing up to do my first triathlon in 2014 I graduated to my very first road bike …. I was so petrified. My brother had a road bike when I was a kid & I just remember comparing it to my BMX & wondering how you stayed upright on such slim tyres & how the handlebars were so low. So I had to take my new bike around the local park before I would brave the road & decided at this point that I would never ride without a helmet (on a mountain bike on the road I had apparently felt completely safe). In hindsight the road would’ve been easier than dodging children & over excited dogs.
Now…. a few triathlons later & I love my bike! The thrill of being outside, exploring & taking in places I’d never normally see. I’m not particularly a good climber on the bike but the sense of achievement & the reward of an amazing view at the top is such a great feeling.
I’m lucky enough to have been part of an awesome local triathlon & cycling club that are both made up of like-minded & supportive people of all different abilities. I’ve made some great friends … & found some great cake stops.
If you’re really not confident & don’t know where to start …. there really will always be someone there to hold your hand … (maybe not literally though).’
Next up is Liv. I have known Liv for well over 30 years now and she well and truly lives up to her nickname of the pocket rocket. Wherever you see Liv there will be a smile on her face! I have also referred to Liv in previous posts as he continues to amaze me with two young children, often intense full time job and a whole host of achievements under her belt!
‘I bought my first ever bike at the ripe old age of 35 back on June 2015. The reason I decided to get a bike was that it was cheaper than a divorce. Joking aside, my husband took up cycling after a football accident in approx 2011 and became addicted. The choice was simple, either become a bitter wife who moans about their husband cycling or join in! Therefore I did and soon after that I joined the most fantastic triathlon club and became addicted to a sport myself.
I must warn you now that I am unlike most people who take up cycling and love it, I was the total opposite. I would say until very recently cycling has been something I have had to do just so that I can take part in triathlon. I am not a lover of the typical British weather, sometimes with bad road surfaces and navigating traffic. I spend most of the winter months on my smart turbo trainer.
I love cycling abroad in the sun on great roads. Since taking up triathlon and cycling I have completed approx 10 century rides. I have also completed 2 Full Distance Ironman races which include a 112 mile cycle and approximately 5 half distance triathlons, mostly all abroad and in the sun.
I plan to do lots more riding this year including the Prudential Ride London 100 and 2 full distance Ironman events in France and Germany.
One of my favourite memories was when I went to Dubai Ironman. I was scared, very very scared, as I felt my cycling was so poor that I would miss the bike cut off. How wrong could I be. That bike course suited me to a t and I found myself loving it and feeling so strong. It did help that the sun was out, the roads were so smooth and the scenery of the Dubai desert was amazing. I think I smiled all the way round. I managed to ride 56 miles in under 3 hrs and no where near the cut off.’
I will be adding more posts like this to inspire you and introduce some more of the lovely ladies I have met through cycling that inspire me.
More information for women who are thinking about getting on a bike for the first time can visit the British Cycling women’s hub for tips and advice on everything from the benefits of cycling, to hints and tips about how to get started.
Are you #OneInAMillion ? Why not share your story too?