For Bike Week 2021 we are running a series articles about opportunities to get cycling in south Leeds:
Active Leeds has supported two new cycling groups in South Leeds, through the Cyclying UK’s Community Cycle Club programme.
“Cycling UK has been instrumental in getting our group set up and feeling confident to get out and about.”
commented Arlie Haslam, Community Wellbeing Development Worker at Your Space.
“We have received lots of advice and support, and we are looking forward to investing the grant we have received back into our cycling group.
“Our group offers a great opportunity to build your confidence and skills in cycling in a supportive and friendly environment. We also focus on the social aspect of cycling, and the benefits that this has on mental health and wellbeing. Our Cycling UK membership will help us to buy more bikes, offer more sessions and training opportunities for our participants. We have a lot to look forward to!”
Over the last few weeks, Your Space has been busy with their new ‘women’s cycling & social group’ in Beeston Hill. The group has been a great way for local women to get back into cycling, build up their skills and confidence, and meet others.
Your Space is a community project in partnership with Touchstone, Women’s Health Matters and Holbeck Together, with a focus on improving mental health and wellbeing. Cycling and exercise is a wonderful way to boost your wellbeing and feel good.
The Your Space group aims to build a sense of community amongst female cyclists; making the sport more accessible, and less intimidating. It has been great watching our participants improve and surprise themselves at their progress. Some of the participants had not cycled in over 30 years before joining the group. But it is true what they say – you never forget how to ride a bike! It is never too late to set yourself a new challenge and take up a hobby like cycling. Here is some of what the group members have said:
“Thank you for the opportunity, I never thought I would do something like this.”
“It is great to have my own thing, without the kids being involved.”
“I’m really proud of myself. So glad I came – it felt like being a kid again!”
After the first few weeks of building up the basics in Cross Flatts Park, they are now venturing out a bit further, and building up knowledge around road safety and commuting.
“Our ambition is to start riding on the road, canal and beyond. We want to utilise bike riding as a way to socialise and explore new areas in Leeds.
“If you are a woman and are interested in getting into cycling, you would be very welcome to join us. Our group is a fantastic way to start your cycling journey in a friendly and non-judgemental environment. We have bikes and helmets you can borrow – all you need to bring along is yourself!”
You can find out more by contacting Arlie on 07435 914350 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie Gill rediscovered a love of cycling last year after Covid-19 prevented her delivering her usual community fitness classes. In March 2020 all her freelance work stopped and her business, like so many others, was forced to close.
“I needed to get out of the house so I borrowed my brother’s bicycle and started to cycle. This gave me such a buzz, not only was it great to get outdoors in the fresh air I was also getting the exercise I so much needed too. I could feel my anxiety and depression lift every time l cycled.”
Before Covid-19 Julie delivered fitness activities with Better Action for Families. When they stopped they looked at setting up a friendly local cycling group. Julie received funding through Cycling UK to develop a community cycling club.
Julie was able to attend ride leader training, and is now running regular Saturday morning rides most weeks at 10am from Middleton Park Circus (weather permitting) and details on her South Leeds Social Cycling Group Facebook page.
The South Leeds Social Cycling group now have a growing number of followers, with others catching the cycling bug!
“We managed to get out this Saturday and had two new members who joined us. Hopefully the group will build back up over the next few weeks as the weather improves.”