International Women’s Day: Alison, Sandra and Tricia
We are celebrating International Women’s Day 2020 at Bike for Good! This is one of a series of blog posts celebrating some wonderful women we work with. We are also running Spokes not Blokes sessions at our West and South Hubs, a Women’s Ride, and a film night showcasing amazing women in cycling.
‘So I said to myself, I really need to learn how to cycle’
Alison, Sandra and Tricia are three ladies who have recently joined us on our weekly women’s Learn To Ride sessions.
I never learnt to cycle and I never had a bike as a child. I retired from work two years ago and I’ve been doing a lot of walking which I have benefited from both mentally and physically. Seeing people out cycling inspired me and I thought, ‘I’d quite like to be able to cycle to Pollok Park’.
I got to thinking that at my age it’s ridiculous that I can’t cycle. Other people have tried to teach me to cycle, and they’ve always said ‘oh you’ll be fine!’, but then I’m not. So when I was told about Bike for Good I phoned up and found out about the Women’s Learn to Ride drop-in sessions.
I like the fact that it’s a drop-in class. If I don’t turn up I’m not going to miss anything or be left behind. When I came to the first one, I thought at least I could say I tried it. I didn’t love cycling straight away, but I didn’t dislike it either. Everyone was so nice and encouraging. I wasn’t the worst one, and that along with the friendly atmosphere meant I just kept coming along. I’m still tense and I over think it, but I enjoy the group and I don’t feel stupid or self-conscious here. That’s been the biggest thing. I’m with other people who are learning and that makes me feel comfortable, whereas when I’m on my own I can feel self-conscious and embarrassed.
I want to cycle around Pollok park, I could do it but I need to build my confidence more. But that’s what I’m aiming for.
[to Alison] I saw you today! I think you can do it already, you can do it! It’s just your confidence. You’ll enjoy it a lot.
I only started to cycle two weeks ago. I need a bike as I’m spending three or four hours walking around Glasgow to get everything done. Don’t get me wrong I love walking, a few years ago I did the Santiago de Compostela and was walking 30km everyday. But walking for half a day through the city just to get my shopping and chores done, it’s not so nice. There are no mountains or forests, just roads and buildings. So I said to myself I really need to learn how to cycle. I don’t want to use public transport, that’s a big thing for me.
I bought a bike and I thought I would put stabilisers on it and that’s how I would learn, but the bike is too big for stabilisers. In the bike shop they told me I just needed to learn without. I was scared and I didn’t know what I was going to do. So I started to look for classes and I found Bike for Good. I booked myself in for a Saturday lesson, and I’ve been to four classes so far. Just this week I have been feeling brave enough to use my own bike. It’s quite big! It’s ok though, and I’m starting to travel by bike. It’s hard and it’s so out of my comfort zone but I really enjoy it.
I taught myself how to ride on my friends bike when I was about 8 or 9. I loved it and when I got my own bike I was on it all the time. When I was about 19/20 I started working and got unwell and stopped cycling. Then last year I decided I was definitely getting a bike again. I went to a bike shop, bought myself a bike, and thought ‘well you never forget to ride a bike’… Two hours later I was ready to punch anyone who uttered the phrase!
I ended up at Freewheel North and they helped me get my balance back and I was soon cycling again. They also told me about Bike for Good, the lessons and rides here. That’s how my confidence has really grown. When I first got my bike I was taking it out for a walk – I never really rode it! But being part of a group of women at the same level boosts my confidence, we all have to start somewhere!
Yes none of my friends outside of Bike for Good understand the fear of leaning to cycle as an adult. I feel so obvious, up high and wide! Here [in the women’s group] I feel understood and part of something.
That’s what I like about Bike for Good and Freewheel North, everyone is so encouraging and friendly.
I am married to a Dutch man, and he loves bikes. He has 3! He crossed South America through the Andes, 5000km by bike and we traveled together. I was on the bus and he was on the bike -for 15 months! I really appreicate that he believes in me and he thinks I can do anything, he doesn’t think I’m stupid for not riding a bike.
It’s really good to feel the same support here at Bike For Good!
Join one of our Ladies Learn to Ride drop-in sessions on a Tuesday morning at our Glasgow West Hub.