Continuing our celebration for International Women's Day, of women whose lives have been changed by cycling, today we share the experience of Breeze Champion and cycling social enterprise Community Outreach Officer, Jenny Rogers, from Perthshire.
I started cycling in 2005 when I had a long walk to travel to work. I had not owned a bike since primary school, so I was pretty nervous. I felt up to the challenge of cycling to work because the route was mostly bridleway, and it changed my life because I was at work in 20 minutes instead of an hour. I could also easily go shopping on the way home or visit friends for dinner.
I started looking for routes to go for a ride on my days off because I loved how far you could get easily go on a bicycle, and all the potential for exploring. I gradually worked up to cycling on roads. Ten years later I was still commuting by bike and rode right up to my last day working before maternity leave. When I returned to cycling, I had a baby seat and a nappy bucket attached!
After I had my child, I wasn’t cycling as much and missing it, so when I saw the advert to become a Breeze ride leader, I went for it. I'm not what you'd call a natural leader, but I thought that making a commitment to others would mean I'd make plans and stick to them. I liked the idea of having company and encouraging people to ride who might not go alone. So far it's working well; I've met some great women and got to know my next door neighbour much better - she came on my first ride and now does more miles than me!
Breeze also led to me getting a job in cycling - I approached my local bike recycling charity The Bike Station and asked if they could help promote my rides. When a job came up I applied for it and now I work on community cycling projects.
Cycling has introduced me to lots of opportunities and has definitely changed my life. I love the challenge of trying to ride long hilly routes, the solidarity of Breeze rides and the satisfaction of nipping through traffic. Possibly my favourite benefit is the fact that you go at just the right speed to keep up with a bird flying along a hedgerow.
All images supplied by Jenny Rogers