Big Bike Project runs activities designed for complete beginners to more experienced cyclists. These include Learn to Ride sessions, skills-based sessions to increase confidence in cycling in more challenging environments such as on the road, as well as relaxing Led Rides that allow people to socialise and cycle with others. Samina has been coming along to some of the Big Bike Project’s sessions in Calthorpe Park, and now wants to inspire others through sharing how cycling has helped her.
She explains before she started cycling, her everyday life was very different. ‘I was depressed with life and life’s hustle and bustle. My mother passed away and after that, I closed myself into another world, often house bound. I worked part-time but I was still not happy because there was no excuse for something not to change’.
She talks of the point where she decided something had to change, and what led her to cycling with Big Bike Project. ‘I got fed up, one morning woke up and decided enough was enough. I needed to take a step forward in doing what are my passions- badminton and cycling. At a carnival in Pickwick Park, I came across the Share Calthorpe stand, with a few ladies handing out cycling leaflets and talking to others. I picked a leaflet up, and ever since then I have come cycling with Share Calthorpe and Ashiana Community Project’.
Run by The Active Wellbeing Society, Big Bike Project works in partnership with other organisations, including Cycling UK. For over 140 years, Cycling UK has been working to promote bicycle use, and to inspire more people to experience cycling. Getting involved with two of Cycling UK’s Community Cycling Clubs- Share Calthorpe and Ashiana Community Project, has opened up new opportunities and experiences for Samina. She says, ‘I have cycled with a few VIPs and guests at Share Calthorpe with my ride leader Keith and other ladies from the group. I was asked about cycling and also spoke about cycling with Susan (Big Bike Project Manager), and a few new people as well as the VIPs and guests. We shared a few ideas with each other regarding cycling. I now have a bicycle to train for the Velo 2020’.
What kept her coming to the cycling sessions? ‘My passion for cycling kept me coming because I got a bike and had a ride, plus the ride leaders and the group of ladies that I ride with. My ride leader Keith is brilliant. He is kind, friendly, patient, and cares for the group on route. He creates good and varied routes with different environments- city, park, canal etc. Keith is just an excellent rider boss!’
She continues, ‘My life has changed a lot because of cycling. I have gained a lot in life that I missed out on before. I’ve made new friends, met different people, and taken time out for myself from everyday chores which are never ending!’
Now a keen cyclist and advocate for the Big Bike Project, Samina encourages anyone thinking of trying cycling to ‘join now and come and enjoy the scenery. Keep fit, keep fresh and healthy. Cycling gives you an adventurous feeling, in different weathers, different routes. It’s just a whole different world!’
After her hard work and dedication, Samina was gifted a free bike through the Big Bike Project’s bike giveaways, allowing her to continue her love of cycling outside of the Led Ride sessions. She would like to thank Susan (Big Bike Project Manager) and Keith (her ride leader). ‘Thanks a million for the bicycle and accessories as I feel free to travel and enjoy my cycling to other new places’.
If you fancy learning a new skill and want to take some time out for yourself in the day to improve your health and fitness, come along to one of our free cycling sessions. You can find cycling activities, as well as a range of other sessions including Zumba, tai chi and led walks, all for free in local parks and spaces near you at: www.theaws.co.uk/events