Lockdown and beyond

Hi everyone

In light of the news over the weekend regarding a second lockdown, we are having to cancel our November TWCCG cycling events. We are sad that we have to disappoint, but this is what we must do to follow Government guidelines and to keep everyone safe and help stop the virus from spreading.

Back in September we had a brilliant first TWCCG free women-only learn-to-ride and cycling confidence sesion. It was a fantastic day for us and for everyone who took part! Louise and I had the amazing support of Ursula Harries from the Bike Hive, and Sarah Galligan who is the women advocate for Trek.

Since then we’ve enjoyed two more brilliant sessions with Glynis Francis and Helen Pidd of Team Glow. With their brilliant support we were able to help more women ride a bike for the first time and for others to get back into cycling again and get their confidence back.

We have lovely memories from each session and what we quickly learnt is that all these wonderful learners already have cycling confidence within themselves. We provided a bike and a helmet and along with a little support and encouragement, in next to no time at all, they were all riding round with the biggest smiles we could see. Well done to you all!

We enjoyed meeting everyone at the sessions and have made many new friends. We have a lovely lady called Renee who has been coming to all our events and even after a hip operation she’s an absolute champ on the bike – an impressive woman!

We loved welcoming Shazida who came to our first session and enjoyed it so much she brought her two daughters along with her – and they loved it too! Monicah has been to two sessions and before coming hadn’t been on a bike since a serious accident many years ago – it was great to see her get her confidence back.

One of our favourite moments was from the last session where our star cyclist Hasina, with practice and brilliant determination, was cycling for the first time – whilst laughing at the same time! We felt fortunate that we shared this delightful moment with her! Thanks Hasina – looking forward to seeing you next year!

We wanted to set up TWCCG because we wanted to empower women through cycling and in so many ways we feel we are working towards this already. Our ultimate goal is to support our learners to become confident cyclists and be able to ride on the road as well as learning basic bike maintenance skills. We want to bridge the gender gap and break down the social barriers around cycling.

Thanks to Robert Sharpe from Tameside Council I was introduced to Ellen Holmes from Cycling UK who has been very supportive of TWCCG from day one!

We will be back next year and we’ve already started working on some exciting plans for March 2021! Many thanks to Andy Dwyer of Tameside Sports & Physical Activity Network and Active Tameside for his excellent on-going support. With his help we were able to deliver the sessions at Tameside Cycle Circuit and receive funding to buy new cycling equipment – more on this next year we promise!

Louise and I are both strong cyclists, but we want to hone our cycling skills and be able to better support our learners. As such, we will be taking part in Breeze Cycling Skills training. A massive thanks to Beth Barrett of British Cycling for organising this for us – and also for your support from the very start!

It’s likely we will have to wait until next year before doing the practical, but still it is very exciting and we are looking forward to this to help us get ready for our next sessions. In 2021 we will also be focussing on training on the road as our learners become more confident.

I will also be enrolling on to a bike mechanic course to further improve my skills. This is something that I’ve always wanted to do but haven’t pursued yet even though I love cycling and tinkering on my own bike!

I was motivated to do this by a wonderful teacher at a school I was working at recently as a Bikeability instructor. She went out of her way to ensure a couple of her pupils were able to take part in the cycle training and not be left out because their bikes weren’t quite roadworthy.

This teacher’s actions inspired me immensely and when I thanked her she didn’t want praise, she just wanted her pupils not to miss out. I’m grateful that she did this because those children passed the training and were amazing cyclists!

This experience affected me so strongly that I feel there is so much more that can be done to encourage more people to start cycling. Learning to ride safely is one of them, and having a bike that is roadworthy is very important whether you’re a child or an adult.

So I’ve found a wonderful reason to finally enroll on the course and hope to put my new skills towards a good cause – one that is meaningful and close to my heart.

We’re no strangers to being in lockdown, we know the rules, but that doesn’t mean it will necessarily be easier to cope with the second time round. This is why we cannot recommend highly enough the physical and wellness benefits of keeping active during these challenging times.

However, cycling in November when the weather isn’t as appealing means it will take that little bit of extra effort to wrap up and get on your bike and out of the house. The first few pedals might also seem a real effort – but if you can get out on your bike, your head and body will thank you for it.

We will be back putting on more sessions from March 2021, and will be keeping in touch with everyone in the meantime via our website and social media pages.

Until then, please take care and stay safe.


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