I always had second-hand bikes as my dad worked with someone whose daughter was several years older than me – every time she got a new bike, so did I! This was until the Christmas when I was 11 and a brand-new Rayleigh shopper appeared next to the Christmas tree – so shiny, with a basket at the front and a bag on the back and 3 Sturmey archer gears to help in those headwinds.
I went everywhere on it – no one in our small town really walked anywhere, everyone rode bikes. I thought nothing of riding 5 miles to meet friends and then spending the day riding through the Fenland countryside. My friend and I even cycled to school (10 miles) to collect our O’level results, instead of waiting a day for the post. The furthest I remember cycling in 1 day was 32 miles for a church sponsored cycle ride, alongside a bike built for 8 people!
When I moved to West Yorkshire for University, my bike stayed at home and I travelled everywhere by public transport. It was only when the boys were little, and we got into bike riding that Andrew bought me a Carrera Subway 2 with 27 gears and disc brakes – what a difference! We’ve done a few longer rides (putting the bikes in the car and driving to different starting points), including the ‘Solar System’ ride from Selby to York and along the Longdendale and Sett Valley Trails in Derbyshire. However, it’s how I usually get to work and back and was very useful for delivering teaching resources to children and even Church worship resources during Lockdown.
As I’m getting older, I am considering an E-bike, so that I can extend my range and not feel that my legs are going to drop off on my way back up the hill to Golcar. I love the fresh air and feeling of the wind (behind me when going downhill) and the fact that you can still say ‘hello’ to passers-by when on a bike.
I’m proud that both our sons are cyclists and love to celebrate bike-riding milestones with the children that I teach.
In days of climate trouble, if we can each do a little to reduce emissions, then together we can achieve so much to care for God’s amazing world.
Gledholt Methodist Church