Pedal a way to a fitter Mental & Physical Health

About three years ago I joined my local cycling group Pedal Away to get fitter and to improve my mental health. It's one of the best decisions I have ever made.

The pedal Away group was launched by cycling projects and worked alongside the local health improvement team to encourage local people to get out more and get back onto their bikes.

During Covid and lockdown when no body could do any group actvities bike sales increased and people started to go exploring outdoors again. I have never seen so many people our walking or bike riding accross my local moss, people of all ages enjoying the fresh air and the sights that go with it too.

By turning up for the rides on a Tuesday not only did I widen my social circle I also improved my knowledge of local cycling routes and tracks. I pushed myself to limits I never knew were there. I'd always enjoyed riding a bike and have fond memories of riding my Grandma's bike around her courtyard, it was too big for me of course but I felt so grown up. Riding a bicycle was also how I broke my foot, you see I wanted more space to ride around our driveway at Nursery Rd, I must have thought I was superhuman or something as I tried to move some flagstones on my own to give myself more room to manoeuvre and yes you guessed it they fell and squashed my foot, flat as a pancake. Safe to say I learnt my lesson.

Cycling allows me that time to get away from the everyday hustle and bustle of life, I've seen some amazing sights and been to places I would not have normally been to, places like The Dream in St Helens. Wow! what a beautiful place that is, so tranquil and quiet it really does suit its name.

Cycling is not only a great form of exercise for my body it also exercises my mind too. I've gone from strength to strength so much so that the group I started my cycling journey off with put me forward for my Ride Leader training so I could continue to grow and develop my cycling knowledge and skills. I can now successfully change a puncture which is a much-needed skill when you're a keen cycler and go out on solo rides as well as group ones and I now lead the cycling group on a Tuesday helping others to get healthier and appreciate the great outdoors. We ride anything between 6 miles and 10 miles on a Tuesday and then I have also started leading an Intermediate bike ride on a Thursday where we ride anything from 10 miles up to about 18 miles.

I am very blessed that within the area I live we have so many great cycle paths and canals to ride along and I have got out of my comfort zone and pushed myself through limits I never knew I had. I track my rides if anyone would like to see any of the rides I have done they can follow them there.

Cycling has enabled me to grow my social circle and help prevent others from becoming socially isolated too. Within our group, there is a mix of all ages and the knowledge that goes with it too so we are always learning new rides, growing our group and making new friends. We stay in contact and support each other and organise meetups with cyclists from other area's, although it's very much a social hobby it's also nice to just get out there on your own and ride, nothing but you and the open road/countryside.

The furthest bike ride I have ridden was with the advanced group Station Wheelers and that was to Southport. We rode down the Trans Pennine Trail from Lymn all the way to Southport where the trail starts. It was a long ass day but a thoroughly enjoyable one. Our partners if they were not on the ride met us at the hotels we were booked into. We all met up for an evening meal and a catch up about the day's adventures before getting a much needed good nights sleep.

The other members of the group Station Wheelers all rode home the next day whereas I had to be back for an appointment so got driven home by my other half, with the bike in the back of the car. My greatest achievement through cycling was to be featured in the Cycling Uk's Top 100 Women in Cycling back in 2020 where I was listed as a community champion and motivator. You can read the full article about this here

I also took part in the completed the Manchester bike-a-thon where they closed of the town centre so that people of all ages could ride around and see the sights.

The atmoshphere that day was electric with cyclists of all ages and abilities out enjoying the roads safely and traffic free.

There were so many different types of bikes too from Giant Penny Farthings to unicycles, Disco bikes to trikes some home made others a little more hi tech. Going along to local events like these are a great way to get back into cycling and find out about what groups there are near to where you live.

Should you need any advice or want any more information on bike rides or how to find safe cycling routes then you can connect with me via my facebook page where you will find all the links to my socials and also links to projects i have been involved in that have helped me to grow and to glow.



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