We caught up with Ailish, who believes cycling is an activity anyone can enjoy no matter what their fitness level is.
Location: Athy, Kildare
What motivated you to become a leader?
I wanted to encourage people to take up cycling and to experience the benefits it offers for both the mind and body. It is important to me, that people who would not otherwise get to participate due to not having the “right bike” or feeling that they are “not good enough” get to enjoy the sport I love. I had some of the same fears and took a bit of convincing to take up cycling but I am glad I did. I have never looked back!
Why should I join one of your bike rides?
We live in a stunning part of the country, and you will enjoy it at its best by getting out on your bike and taking in the scenery with different routes each week. The emphasis is on being social, so every bike ride includes a coffee stop where you get to relax and chat to your fellow cyclists. It’s a great way of meeting new people in a non-competitive environment. Nobody gets left behind. You will surprise yourself by how far you can cycle. And you might even catch the cycling bug! Be warned. It’s contagious!
Why would you encourage other members to become leaders?
Becoming a leader is so worthwhile! You will meet lots of great people in your community, have lots of chats and fun. It’s a fantastic way to contribute to your community and to open up the sport of cycling to people who might otherwise miss out.
What has been the highlight for you from your rides to date?
It’s got to be seeing one of the guys who has been out with me from day one, go from struggling to cycle 20km to now cycling 60km round trip to work each day. He hadn’t been on a bike for years prior to joining my bike ride but can’t be kept off one now, so much so that he has invested in a new bike and all the gear. But I am delighted to say he still comes back to support my bike ride each week. I have another friend following closely in his tyre tracks who has been bitten by the bug! I love seeing their progress and how much they enjoy the sport.
What advice would you give a new leader?
You don’t have to be the fastest or the best cyclist to become a leader. What’s important is that you show up every week and give people the opportunity to be part of this great cycling community!