Get to know Aoife Glass, ahead of her arrival tomorrow at Total Women’s Cycling towers, as the sites new Deputy Editor.
Compared to a lot of people, I’m relatively new to cycling, and to the cycling industry. I started commuting to work about 5 years ago, and then got into mountain biking when a mate took me out to Swinley in Berkshire. I was terrified and excited in equal measures, riding along on a hand-me-down mountain bike with a pannier rack on the back. This is when I really got the mountain biking bug.
I started to ride more and more, and got my first new mountain bike with my employers bicycle loan scheme. I’ve upgraded my bikes over the years – next came an ex-demo full suspension bike, and this year I splashed out on a brand new full sus, which I love! My other half is also a mad-keen mountain biker, so we ride a lot together, which is mostly harmonious. He loves riding up hills, so I’ve certainly got fitter since I met him!
I enjoy visiting trail centres up and down the UK. My current favourite is the red route at WolfTrax in Lagan, Scotland, and I am looking forward to a long summers day at the new bike park at Afan, Wales. I’m starting to explore more natural terrain, riding out round the Quantocks and Mendips, as I’d like to explore places like Iceland in the future. I have a cycling holiday destination wish list, which is only getting longer!
In September last year I went on a trip to Whistler, in Canada, and it blew my mind. Riding on harder trails, going out every day for two weeks, and being surrounded by amazing mountain bikers took my riding up a notch.
Some of the technical trail features still make me nervous, but I’m getting better. I’m learning little psychological tricks to help me get over them, and discovering that I am better at riding than I sometimes think I am. I’ve attended many women’s coaching courses, which have helped a lot. I’ve also found one of the best things about these is the women I have met – the atmosphere is so friendly, supportive and encouraging.
My background is in science, and my previous job was working at the Natural History Museum, which really is an amazing place. I was part of a team that ran events where visitors could meet the scientists who work there and find out what they work on. That’s everything from dinosaurs and meteorites through to tropical diseases and marine biology. I’ve also organised large immersive murder mystery events with real police officers, forensic scientists and barristers, helped entertain 400 children at sleepover events and interviewed a NASA engineer.
Cycling has become an increasingly large part of my life. I’ve been riding more and more, started experimenting with road cycling, and also worked in a bike shop part-time over the last year. This job was a sharp learning curve but also great fun. One of my favourite things about it was talking to customers, finding out what they were looking for, and recommending bikes and kit to suit them. Selling my first bike gave me a really warm glow as I watched the women in question wheel her new steed out the door.
I’m always on the look-out for the next adventure, big or small. I like to get out there, try new things, and see what I can achieve. You don’t know what you are capable of until you try, right? And I like to invite people along for the journey, because the best adventures are the ones you can share. I think cycling makes you see the world differently; I certainly started to notice things like the seasons changing day by day as I tootled into work on my bike.
I’ve just got back from watching the the Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup at Fort William. I’d wanted to go for years, so this was a bit of a dream come true. All my expectations were exceeded when I got to meet and chat to some of the top professional riders, both past and present. These women, like women from all the different cycling disciplines, deserve way more coverage. They are incredibly talented, motivated and inspiring.
I’m completely over the moon to be joining Total Women’s Cycling! Over the last few months, I’ve been avidly reading the stories, sharing the advice, and looking at the forums. I’ve loved contributing articles and sharing my passion for cycling, and I can’t wait to work with people who are as passionate and motivated about women’s cycling. I really believe in what this site is aiming to achieve, and I don’t think we will ever be short on content for the site, because I know every rider has a story, and every bike ride is an adventure. Bring it on!