I think if people could go back in time 7 years and see the person I was then, they’d not recognise the muddy-faced MTB rider I am today. I was 5 stone heavier, a total couch potato and only rode a bike with great sufferance if I had to. So what’s changed?
Well, I opened Garage Bikes in Morley with my husband Al (he was the bike-mad one in this relationship), I bumbled about in the shop getting frustrated that I didn’t have an opinion on the bike stuff we sold and so one Saturday decided that was going to change. Fast forward 6 years and I’m half the woman I was, am totally addicted to riding and most weekends can now be round zooming through the woods, the hillier and muddier the better.
Along the way, I’ve raced 24 hrs events, completed the coast to coast across England and even taken the road bike out on amazing events like the Yorkshire Grand Depart Sportive.
Riding bikes has introduced me to many people I now class as my best friends, people who don’t run in the opposite direction when I state that I’ve had a random idea and do they fancy joining me?
I think my favourite daft idea was persuading 12 fellow riding lasses to race Relentless 24 last year. Over a meal and a few drinks, I’d managed to convince them that Fort William, at the end of October, is the best introduction to 24hr racing out. It must have gone okay as a number are joining me again this year! Look out for a group of lasses riding round in bright orange Garage Bikes jerseys.
I’ve gone from being a do nothing to saying yes to almost anything. As a result in the past year, I’ve learnt how to snowboard, swum 1.2 miles upstream in the Thames, done a triathlon and terrified myself doing a rock climbing course in the Lake District. Riding has given me a re-energized love for life and I’m keen to see where it takes me. Hopefully, I can persuade other people to join me along the way. Riding is an integral part of my social life, most of my friends either ride, run or generally enjoy being outside so riding is just an extension of that spending time with friends.
I first encountered FINDRA when I got talking to Alex Feechan on social media a couple of years ago, just as she was starting the business, since then our paths have crossed at several bike events. I live in the FINDRA denim shorts (now Dreva Denim Technical Trail Shorts), not just riding in them but bouldering, dog walking and generally knocking about. They really are my go-to shorts, it helps that they are indestructible and I’m quite renowned for falling off things!
It’s hard to say what my next adventure will be, I always have a number of daft ideas rumbling around in my head. I’m racing Relentless as a pair at the end of October with my usual bike partner in crime Vic Alker and I quite fancy an off-road c2c next summer with a number of the shop regulars. They haven’t run away screaming when I’ve suggested it. Basically,
if anyone has a daft idea and needs some company just ask me as I can’t say No!
THANK YOU SARAH – You’re a star!
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