Hi, I’m Judy.
I find it quite scary to think that I became a ‘cyclist’ seventy years ago, but although I’ve been involved with cycling and cyclists for much of that time, I was re-introduced to riding a bike again sixteen years ago.
A bit late in the day one might say, but I’ve found that it’s never too late to at least give it a try, and although I may not be able to do the things on two wheels that I was once able to do, I’m like a big kid again and having the time of my life.
It was hard at first, as I thought “Oh, I can ride a bike, no problem!”
It wasn’t quite like that.
For one thing, there was a lot more traffic on the road, and I’d forgotten that sitting on a hard triangular piece of pseudo leather could be rather uncomfortable.
Although a Life Member of Yorkshire Road Club, my contribution had been mainly as a timekeeper and race organiser for most of the intervening years.
I had spent much of my time hill walking, which my knees became unhappy with, then playing mediocre golf, so my problem was finding someone local to ride with, as none of my friends were interested in riding a bike.
I was lucky in finding a bikeability course in my local park, and one thing led to another.
First was an introduction to Skyrides and my first sportive ten years ago, where I had the pleasure of meeting Jenny Butterworth and her friend Steph.
The three of us rode into the finish together, we were wet through and almost everyone had gone home. What an experience! Totally unprepared, but I’ll never forget it.
After that, I went on my first Breeze ride with Anna and was soon talked into going on to the Breeze training scheme.
That was 10 years ago and cycling has taken over my life for the second time.
As an older woman coming back to cycling, one of the hurdles has been finding someone to ride with as I’m not good anymore at riding on my own, and that’s where Breeze has been such a saviour, but even then, not many of my regular riders lived nearby, most travelling to the start by car.
I can’t even remember now how I heard about Bingley Belles, but being a bit of a nerd, I’ve checked my spreadsheet and find that I went on a couple of rides with BeCycling in 2016 when I met up with Jenny again, then a ride through Esholt Woods with The Belles in July 2017.
I found that whenever I subsequently went out with Sarah, she showed me a new route every time.
I also found them to be such a friendly group, much like Breeze but locally based.
Up to March 2020, though occasionally riding with the Belles at weekends, Breeze was still my main priority.
Then Lockdown came, and I think it was the various WhatsApp groups that helped so much.
We were buddying up to get our permitted exercise, sometimes, depending on the Rules at the time, as 1+1s, or in small groups of up to six.
All this made Lockdown almost a pleasure.
I kept riding with two of my Breeze buddies, but also made so many new friends, and found new places to ride, that when the AGM came round, I felt I wanted to repay some of the help given to me.
I sincerely hope that I’m on my way to repaying that debt of gratitude that I hold.
The photo attached is a reminder of the fun we all had in our efforts to raise money for Yorkshire Air Ambulance in June.