My first memory of cycling was being pushed down a hill by a friend whilst sitting on her little brother’s bike. I was about 6 or 7 years old and didn’t fall off!
In fact, I could even do a bit of peddling…
Our friends soon moved away and as our father considered it too dangerous for us to have our own bikes I did hardly any cycling.
Many years later – by now living in Bradford, married and with three teenage children, we were in a bike shop getting an adult sized bike for our younger son and my husband asked me whether I also would like a bike.
My first ever bike!
I was the only one without one.
So that is how I bought my green bike that most people will have seen me on, of course now after 20+ years, with most of it having had to have new replacements except for the frame.
I got into using it after the family left home and now have used it for very many years including getting to and from work, along quiet back streets as I have always felt wary of other traffic.
I have used it for a few holidays including the coast-to-coast route ending up in Tynemouth.
We were following a Sustrans map (the old type) which was in sections of 30 miles.
As I had no idea how far a ‘standard cycling day’ was we decided it was 30 miles, so all accommodation was pre-booked on that basis.
It was a great holiday, cycling from the west to the east coast and seeing the changing scenery of the country.
A few years later, using the 30 mile guide my husband and I cycled the Sustrans Coast and Castles route (Newcastle to Edinburgh) – chosen mainly because we had a daughter living in Newcastle at the time.
It was an excellent route with very little traffic.
When our daughter moved to Liverpool the obvious route was from Leeds to Liverpool along the canal.
Another interesting trip.
But little did I know at that point how often I would be cycling along parts of that canal in the future!
I joined the Belles only a couple of years ago – what a friendly group!
I liked the fact that to start with most of the rides follow the canal towpath for a considerable part of the way.
It is a good corridor as it enables us to get traffic free out of the main conurbation and avoid the busy areas.
One of my favourite rides is to Cliffe Castle park and café where they do a delicious hot veggie ‘sausage’ roll – just what one needs on a cool day. (Let the others eat cake!!!)
I have since attended the road cycling training last year and now feel more confident on the roads – at last! I have also learnt some basic first aid with the Belles as well as now trained to be a cycle leader.
So, I am looking forward to contributing more to our great club and getting more women out cycling and chatting and eating cake (or maybe savoury rolls!!).
Stop Press – I have just bought a second hand folding bike from the MCF shop in Shipley.
This is their remit – The mission of the Margaret Carey Foundation is to provide training opportunities, resources and environments that support rehabilitation to people in prisons in order to help break the cycle of re-offending. We also create training opportunities in the community to support those at risk of offending and other vulnerable groups.
With my black folding bike (a bit heavy though) I am hoping to expand the type of bike adventures one can go on!