My CyclinG Story: monica Prior
I suppose my story starts at a point before I started cycling.
The reason for this is that I think I have always wanted to cycle but the idea of choosing and buying a bike with no knowledge of the sport seemed impossible, I was also scared to go out on my own and joining a club as a complete novice seemed not just intimidating but almost undoable.
A colleague at work had told me about “some women in your area that you could ride with” and that is how I came across a community of cyclist called BellaVelo. In August 2017 I bought my bike, and it looked lovely sitting in the bay window where it lived for the next eight months. It was in May 2018 that I finally braved up and joined a beginner’s ride. To put this into perspective, at this point I had never pumped my own tyres on my bike, let alone changed one.
BellaVelo welcomed me with open arms, as a club that promote women in cycling, I had found myself a community of supportive and encouraging women, cyclists and now friends.
I often joke about a time in the early days of my cycling when I had my first puncture whilst out riding in Richmond Park, and so I called an Uber to collect me and my bike to take us home, where my bike stayed until I could eventually, some weeks later, persuade a friend to come over and help me change it.
It seems a life time ago since I was that damsel in distress and yet it’s been less than a year. Cycling and being part of a supportive community has empowered my life beyond just the sport. Cycling has given me a new sense of freedom in London that living with only public transport does not. I feel that I am capable now of doing things far beyond what I once thought I could in both my ability as a cyclist, maintaining my bike and a level of confidence that I can do these things for myself. I have come a long way from being the girl who had never pumped her own tyres to being able to dismantle my own bike into a bike box, take it to Majorca in March 2019 where I spent a week cycling with the Bellas.
I hope that the future with my cycling holds many more happy hours on my bike with my Bella friends by my side. Not just pushing my own boundaries but also a journey to discover what I am capable of.
This year I have entered ride100. Days after the event last year I signed up for a Charity place with Hospice, not just as a personal challenge in my own cycling journey and my first ever event, but wanting to give something back in return for how cycling has really changed my life. Hopefully this is the start of much more to come
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