I am continuing to share 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 this awesome lady who I am grateful to for contributing to this post.
Meet Laura (aka LaLa). This one is such an easy intro for me to write as I just bloody love this woman! I am privileged to call her one of my besties and I am proud that she has been there through most of my journey into cycling. Even if she does make me do hills, and I hate hills, but she continues undeterred and listens (probably has figured out a way to drown out my moaning by now) to me huff and puff. She introduced me to be a Ride Angel to help others on a sportive. She was there for my first time trial experience and we completed it together as part of a two-up (working together instead of individual).
She agrees to my crazy ideas like a 186 mile bike ride around a lake in Sweden. I agree to her crazy ideas like doing a six hour turbo session on Brentwood high street to raise money for Macmillan (yes you read that right we were in Towie land on bikes in lycra and yes it was six hours and yes it was the most painful thing ever). She finished a bike ride over 300 miles from Newcastle to London after I convinced her to take part and then had my ride cut short as I came off my bike in bad weather conditions and ended up in an ambulance and she said she had to finish for me as I couldn’t and she did. And I have so much respect for her with what she does in her ambassador role, selflessly helping other ladies get into cycling.
If there is one single person I know who is the absolute fit for this campaign it is LaLa and I love you x
‘For me, exercise has always been therapy. I probably didn’t realise it until my mid-20’s but I’ve always chosen physical challenges, so I had a reason to ‘train’. Truthfully, I need to exercise for me. To clear my head and escape the day to day. I’ve run, swum and done aerobics in the past but didn’t start cycling until my 30’s.
My cycling journey started some 9 years ago and since then I’ve gone from a pretty clueless, recreational rider to an experienced long-distance road rider, Specialized Women’s Ambassador and most recently a racer. Yup. Me. A middle aged office worker who took up cycling less than 10 years ago! Racing bikes. Not just road bikes either…different types of bikes. MTB, Cross and road.
I was the typical cycling widow, my partner would tell me he was off for a ride and he’d come home 3 hours later all sweaty but with a massive smile on his face. Not one to miss out, I bought a second-hand road bike and joined him. I loved that we were exploring our local area (neither of us are from Essex originally), keeping fit and spending quality time together.
Cycling gives a real feeling of freedom and there are so many opportunities to challenge yourself. To start with, I was all about long distance rides completing numerous sportives including the inaugural Ride London 100 event in 2013. Each year the rides got more ambitious, and further afield. So far, I’ve been to Belgium (Tour of Flanders), Holland (Amstel Gold Race) and Sweden (Vatternrundan). Cycling gives an excuse to travel and cycling allows us to explore these countries in a memorable way.
Over the past 12 months I’ve got into racing. If I can do it, anyone can. It’s physically tough, yes, but it’s also a chance to meet like-minded ladies and I have to say all the racers I’ve met so far have been nothing but welcoming and supportive. I’ve just finished the cyclo-cross season and I’m looking forward to doing some road racing in the summer. The goal is to finish 2019 as a Cat 3 rider – ambitious perhaps but possible!
*photo credit to Andrew Richardson*
Simply put, I just love riding my bike and the more I experience, the more I want to inspire, encourage and help other women to get into cycling. I am a volunteer Ride Angel, a This Girl Can Essex Ambassador and Specialized UK Women’s Ambassador. These roles, particularly the latter, give me the chance to spread the cycling love and happiness. I lead monthly women’s rides from the Specialized Concept Store, Chelmsford and Thomas Cycle Revolution, Colchester and doing so I’ve met some brilliant women who I can now call my friends. We ride for cake, enjoy the journey and would love for you to join us!’
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?