After hearing of the Action Bikes Cycling Club ladies evening through the press and friends, Sarah Thyer-Hughes went along to one of their meetings and met other cyclists who were considering taking part in the Ride to the Somme event. Taking part in the club has helped her improve her health whilst meeting new people at the same time. Sarah tells more about her figurative, and very literal, journey!
“What can I say! Nearly 52 years of age and at a time of life where I should be considering slowing down slightly and taking up something a little less energetic! After being nagged by Richard Smith of Action Bikes in Swansea for nearly two years, I got off to Sports Direct one Thursday lunch time and bought myself a new cycling helmet with a hint of pink and went to the first Action Bikes Ladies Night in March 2016 to check it out.
“I nervously got on a very nice road bike and followed the rest of the ladies down the promenade in Swansea with a team leader. As the saying goes I really did have half (not all) the gear and no idea! My knowledge of gears was zero! I had no concept of big or little cogs and just did what my weak old legs could do.
“The aim at the beginning for me was to go from couch to 40 miles in 12 weeks. That was achieved in 10 weeks with a trip along the coast to Burry Port! This is where I had my first dramatic (in my mind) fall off my brand new Giant Aval bike. The shiny delight had only been delivered the day before and was my new baby. Falling off was a shock and I knew I had changed when I was more concerned about scratches on the bike than bruises!
“From there it has progressed and took part in the Sarn Helen Sportif in May 2016 riding 68 miles over 3 counties in Wales. That was a beautiful ride with some of the buddies from the Ladies Club. From this we enlisted for The Ride To the Somme event. Nothing could have prepared me for this and I really still cannot quite believe I did over 200 miles over 3 days riding through Northern France from the port of Le Havre and ending in the Thiepval Memorial of the Missing.
“The experience pushed me physically and mentally and words cannot properly describe how proud I am to have been able to take part. It was an honour to be with so many wonderful people of all ages, backgrounds and experience such emotional journey in the 100 year anniversary year of The Somme.
“This trip has just made my love of cycling grow and I can honestly say buying the new bike and getting out has been the most beneficial thing I have done for myself. The ladies club has grown due to the enthusiasm of the people leading it and taking part. Apart from the occasional aches and pains swapping dresses for Lycra has been the most sensible change I have made since hitting 50! I have made the most wonderful friends and feel so much better mentally and physically. Long may it continue!”
Action Bikes Cycling Club Swansea receive £5,000 to provide a sustainable bike hire service for women to take up cycling in Swansea and improve their support to get more women active.
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