To celebrate National Bike Week, we asked the cyclists of Team FINDRA what it was that they loved the most about riding their bike and where that passion came from. Today we asked Helen, our social media coordinator and Edinburgh shop assistant, why she gets out on her bike.
I learned to ride a bike before my older brother did and bikes were a constant presence at home when I was growing up. However, during school and University, I got more involved in theatre and the arts so spent little time outside and bikes were quickly forgotten. After graduating University I needed to get to work affordably and I already had a bike hanging about so I started cycling to work. Riding 26 miles to work and back had obvious benefits to my body and as I got fitter I wanted to do more and I soon found myself buying a road bike and getting into sportives. Sportives turned into multiday cycling (London to Paris) then onto solo holidays (LEJOG) and then to cycling around the world. It’s been a natural progression with something I’ve felt major physical and mental benefits from.
I take those benefits and use them to motivate me now. I know how great I’ll feel after a long ride even when I really don’t feel like sitting on that saddle. The rush of endorphins, the raised heart rate and tired legs – you know you’ve had a great work out and done something just for you. Finding a hobby is imperative to get a work/life balance and I count myself lucky that I’ve found what works for me.
My relationship with riding my bike has changed since riding around the world for 17 months. Now, I struggle with riding the same route regularly, I always feel like I need to ride somewhere new. I’ve been struggling to understand why, but I suppose I get the most joy out of exploring the world by bike. New roads, new people, new friends, new countries – it can go on and on. There are few other ways of traveling which connect you with the landscape and the people as cycling does.
It’s important to remember that your motivations and passions will change over your lifetime. Now, my motivations come from improving my performance whereas previous it’s been to save money. I’m certainly not saving money as I’m now buying more bikes!