Inspired to ride by living in the Chilterns and Nicole Cooke!
I have always cycled and dabbled with bikes. Having made up my own street bike at the age of 13 – black frame, single speed and wide bars.
I was introduced to road bikes as I left school and toured around Cornwall and Devon – I was use to the subtle undulations of Hertfordshire and the West Country climbs were a bit of a shock. I loved every minute of it – despite coming back with legs like huge jambons!
It wasn’t until I moved to the Chilterns in the early noughties, that I started to consider myself a ‘real’ cyclist, when I bought a new lightweight Giant road bike, I started training on the local lanes and entered the occasional event. Riding was my primary form of recreation and fitness. But it was during the first year of owning this bike and buying a subscription to Cycling Weekly, I came across an article on Nicole Cooke. She was riding a Rourke and that inspired me to save up for a hand built bike – in my favourite medium, steel. I loved the wrap over seat stays. Brian Rourke is a gent and I have had 3 bikes from him.
So with 3 Rourkies in my stable – one for racing, one for winter training and a super light low pro TT bike. I found myself a female coach and embarked on a training regime for time trialing and the odd road race.
17 years ago not many women entered the open events and often I would arrive and find one other female entrant or just myself on the start line. It was very male dominated – they even took over the ladies loos!
My competitive cycling continued for about 7 years and when I finally bagged my ‘dream job’ with CTC – now Cycling UK, I was introduced to cross country and I loved it. Riding off road makes me smile and even now when things are tough or I am stressed – I take off onto the local trails.
During my time at CTC I engaged many new cyclists – women, children, disabled and other minority groups. I had a tremendous time getting people to love the bike as much as I did.
My riding now consists of a mixture of everything – from the quiet lanes of the Chilterns, the heady-heights of the Alps to the wild trails in Wales. This year my cycling objectives are the South Downs Way in a day and I hope to join
The Cinglés Club – 3 ascents of Mont Ventoux in a day!
I have one ‘non cycling’ objective – I am aqua running the Henley Mile in July. I took up aqua running during an injury which kept me off my bike and I love it. So, some days kick off with a session in the Wycombe Lido, followed by a sauna.
I love kit – particularly niche brands, the early days of Rapha and Vulpine and then having the fortune of meeting the designers of ashmei at a local event. Fabulously designed, top end clothing. Yes, some would say, expensive, but items that will last for years and so are well worth the money and they do look amazing.
Helen the ‘athlete’:
Well, I don’t take things too seriously these days – but still follow a programme of sorts….but I think given my objectives this year, I think that is a sensible move.
On the whole my diet is good, I try and eat plenty of good fats, no/low refine sugars and I don’t drink alcohol!
I have regular sports massages – which helped me get through the Raid Pyrenean, Classic Alpine Col trip and many long distance rides.
2 years ago I retrained and became a Sports Massage Therapist and now run my own business from a lovely new treatment room at my home in Little Kingshill.
To see more of what I do: