Everyday Cycling Heroes: Reza
Bike for Good first encountered Reza in the summer of 2018, after he made a promise to himself to begin to enjoy cycling again in his fifties.
As a child, Reza cycled and loved the thrill of being out on his bike. But, like many kids, he gave up his bike when he grew up. A musician by trade, he moved from London to Scotland; and found himself feeling isolated and unmotivated.
Through his employer, Reza was able to access a 12-week course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which he credits with ‘freeing up his life’. Reza’s therapist helped him to identify that he was suffering from low self-esteem. This low self-esteem was affecting how he viewed his own capabilities. He told us he had “a mental block” about cycling, and many other activities.
“I feared the worst. I was scared to try anything.”
CBT helped Reza to recognise that there were many things he was avoiding, because he was scared. More than that, much of the fear had no basis. Cycling was one of those things that he really wanted to do, but felt terrified to try again as an adult. As part of his self-development, he committed to giving cycling a go. Reza headed to our friends over at Free Wheel North, to practise riding a bike on a track without pedals.
Bike for Good staff member Hannah got chatting to Reza when he came along to borrow a bike from the free lending library at our South Community Hub. He didn’t own a bike yet, as he was new to cycling – so we were able to loan him a bike for free as part of our VeloCommunities project until he was able to purchase one of his own.
Not everyone is confident to cycle commute independently right away, and Reza is testament to how this barrier can be overcome. As a teacher, he made use of his long summer holiday to practise cycling to and from work, without any time pressure on him. Slowly he built up his route from Simshill to Cardonald. By the time that term-time resumed, he was confident in his route and how long he would need to get there on time.
Reza’s colleagues are now in awe of him cycling to work everyday, even in the cold and rainy Glasgow weather. But Reza is delighted when he talks about it:
“I look at people sitting in their cars and they look so bored sitting in traffic. Now I get such a sense of achievement when I arrive to work on my bike. I can’t drive to work now, cycling is too good. It’s like freedom!”
In September 2019 we were delighted to meet Reza again, when he came along to one of our maintenance classes. Not only is he now cycle-commuting, but he is building up his practical skills to be able to fix his own bike. Interested in giving up his car completely, we helped advise him on some good quality panniers to buy so that he can continue to do his weekly shop on his bike.
“You guys have changed my life. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m a different person. I’m much more confident. I’ve stopped smoking. I’m fit & healthy – it’s great exercise. There’s nothing negative about it.”
Reza wants to convince everyone to try cycling, and even cycle-commuting. If you are interested in borrowing a bike, or learning how to cycle – please get in touch! That is what Bike for Good are here for.