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How cycling has changed my life

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

Ever noticed that most cyclists are absolutely nuts about cycling?

There is something about the sporting community, the opportunity to travel and healthy dose of competition that proves addictive for many.

Why do you think people get such a buzz from cycling? ​

"Initially I think it's the health benefits that interest people, but then you quickly realise the freedom a bike gives you – for me there's nothing quite like it. Whether it's setting off on a big tour or simply commuting home from work, I just feel free, and that's a huge buzz. My partner often feels quite claustrophobic in big cities and pines for the countryside, but I never do as cycling gets me out of the city and onto lovely country lanes all the time. The endorphin rush is also great, and I think this is hugely exaggerated by apps like Strava where you can see how much you're improving. The competitive element is really addictive, even if it's just with yourself."


Has cycling changed your life in some way?

"I often think that cycling has changed my life more than anything else. It's given me new friendships. I've seen parts of the country and world that I'd never have seen otherwise. I've physically pushed myself harder and further than I ever had before. I've found a form of exercise that I love and look forward to – perviously I'd have to force myself to go for a run or to the gym, but now exercise is a passion. It's also given me highs like nothing else – the feeling of finishing a race or reaching the top of a mountain is incomparable. I'm literally always planning my next trip in my head, looking for inspiration, plotting maps, searching for epic mountain passes or routes. I love beach holidays and city breaks, but for me they don't come close to a cycling trip or tour. Whether it's with friends where you ride all day, eat massive lunches and enjoy loads of beers in the evening, or solo where you just feel complete freedom and escapism, not having to answer to anyone else, just pushing and challenging yourself physically and mentally."


 

Why do you think more women are taking up the sport?

"It’s a very social sport, heading to the Park for weekend rides with friends and coffees after is a great way to spend a sunny Saturday. It’s also quite gadget-led, so if you’re into the technical side of it, there’s loads to learn. Equally it’s pretty handy for getting to work – I really enjoyed cycling to work last summer up past the river, it’s a lovely way to start the day. There’s something really magical about the start of a ride on a crisp autumn day, and the views when you reach the top of hills can be breathtaking (no pun intended). If you’re someone who also likes setting goals and ticking them off, getting to the top of an epic hill or finishing a long ride can feel really mentally and physically rewarding."


Has cycling changed your life in some way?

"Absolutely – my friends are all turning 30 now, and more and more of us seem to be getting into cycling. We’re hoping to take a cycling holiday together later on in the year and my other half and I like to explore the new areas a couple of weekends a year by bike. I spent one of my last birthdays in the Hill Country on a cycling weekend, staying in a tent in a field."

Are more women taking up cycling?

"Based on my experience, I often see more men than women when I’m out cycling or on Zwift (virtual cycling app). When I cycled to Austin last year I think I only saw three or four other women the whole ride out of at least 30 other cyclists. That said, a lot of my female friends are really keen cyclists, including one who's completed an Ironman, and I think the sport is shifting, albeit slowly. It’s a great group activity and whilst it can be a bit off-putting at first for anyone with the set-up costs of a bike and gear and mastering items like clip-in shoes, it’s really worth it – not only for the exercise, but the memories too."

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