“Riding changed my life, my health, and keeps me active and fit,” said Preeti King who took up cycling in her 50s. “It also saves me the cost of car parking and petrol – and the best thing of all is that, if I cycle, I’m helping the environment by reducing pollution.”
Preeti, from Southall, had never ridden a bicycle until 2013 but now she rides absolutely everywhere.
“I go by bike shopping, to work, out with friends and family, and back home. Also just for fun outings,” Preeti said.
‘I am full of confidence now’
Everything changed when she came across Ealing Council’s cycle training programme. It is run by Cycle Training UK (CTUK) and provides free lessons for people who live, study or work in the borough.
“Before 2013, I didn’t have the confidence to ride a bike,” she said. “I was driving a car and using public transport. But then I read a leaflet that said Ealing Council provides one-to-one training through CTUK and also there were Monday fun riding sessions and social riding for women.
“So I contacted CTUK. The instructors are very friendly and they gave me very good personal, one-to-one training. They built my confidence and I am full of confidence now and I’m riding everywhere –off-road and on-road. Before the training I was very hesitant about going on the road.”
‘I save money and lose weight’
As her riding ability and confidence grew, Preeti progressed to attending fun rides twice a week. On Mondays between 2-4pm, there are mixed classes for men and women; and on Sundays there are family-friendly social riding sessions between 10am-1pm.
Both sets of sessions are held at Southall Park and Gunnersbury Park.
“I save money and lose weight without going to the gym,” she said. “This keeps me fit and stress free. And I also advise my friends and family to consider cycling to reduce their own carbon footprint. I very rarely use my car.”
If you are like Preeti and want to make a lifestyle change, then it is time to get cycling. There is no need to feel nervous if you are a beginner, just visit www.ealing.gov.uk/cycling and find out more.
Check-ups with Dr Bike
To keep her bike in working order, Preeti attends ‘Dr Bike’ sessions in Southall, which are among many held in the borough for all residents – you can find out more at www.ealing.gov.uk/cycling – and the London Bike Hub also offers maintenance sessions on Saturdays and Sundays, which you can view at www.londonbikehub.com