Proving that it’s never too late to get on a bike, Jan Ali, aged 69 took up cycling just nine months ago. Since then she has discovered a sense of freedom she never knew existed.
When did you start cycling?
I started cycling about nine months ago. I attended a new fitness group for people of 50 plus called Silverfit. It meets weekly in Hyde Park and we do Nordic walking, regular walking, jogging and Tai Chi. It also has cycling sessions for beginners and cyclists who want to build up confidence on the road. The trainers are from a company called Cycle Confidence. They taught me to cycle and to get the confidence to cycle on London roads! I never learned to cycle as a child and tried twice as an adult to learn but without success. Finally Cycle Confidence cracked it for me.
Who do you ride with?
I tend to ride alone but have done some enjoyable Sky rides for beginners on various routes in London.
What is your favourite route to ride?
My favourite place to ride at the moment is Hyde Park though a couple of months ago I did part of the Viking Way from Margate to Reculver. It was fantastic! I am sure that would be a favourite if I lived nearby.
What do you think are the health benefits for you?
The health benefits for me are doing something new physically in my 60s which encompasses being out in the fresh air, exercising the body and seeing new places! A pleasant change from the boring grind of the gym!
What do you ride?
I ride a Brompton M6R which I love. I am not very tall so its size suits me perfectly and it is so nippy and adaptable. I can just zip around London or shove it on a coach or train, go further afield,get off and do an enjoyable ride somewhere new.
What are you favourite pieces of clothing?
My favourite pieces of clothing are my new Btwin jacket from Decathlon, and my Madison gilet.
What is your favourite thing about cycling?
I am no longer dependant on public transport.
Do you think you’ll ever give up cycling?
I’ve learned to cycle quite late in life and cycle at least four times a week now. I can’t envisage not cycling now.
How do you feel when you are riding a bike?
When I cycle I feel stimulated and alive and free!
What one piece of advice would you give women who are thinking of taking up cycling?
Go for it! Get a trainer who is patient and who will persevere with you.