International Women's Day - Brenda Callander

International Women's Day - Brenda Callander

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Name:  Brenda Callander

Age: 48

What type of cyclist are you?
I am an active member of Stirling Bike Club. I mainly ride on the road but enjoy the Scottish cyclocross series and have raced occasionally on the track. Cyclocross is a great way to pass the winter.

Are you a coach, leader, official, event organiser, athlete?
I think mother of a keen teenage cyclist best sums me up!

How did you get involved with/ start cycling?
When I was 6 I fell off a bike racing a neighbour down the street and had to have what remained of my front teeth removed under anaesthetic. My mother then decided I was too clumsy to own a bike. I didn’t get another till I was a teenager when I bought a second hand one from my big brother’s friend.  I was always missing busses and being late and thought at least I could cycle faster if I needed to. Thereafter I basically got about on a bike, cycling to work and nights out etc till I bought a car in my mid 20’s. I did a bit of cycle touring including round Greece with friends and had a couple of years in my early 20’s taking part in Olympic distance triathlons. When I had children I started taking them on bikes with bucket seats and tag alongs and cycled to school with them when they were older.

When my daughter Rhona joined the newly formed Wallace Warriors aged 9, the junior section of Stirling Bike Club and launched into racing, I started joining in if there was a suitable race when I took her to events. Initially this was cyclocross and SXC mountain bike racing and more recently crit, road and track racing. I didn’t really mountain bike before starting racing and was over the handlebars rather too often till I got a couple of lessons from a coach. Recently I’ve been joining local para cyclist Laura on her tandem, helping her get some more miles in on the road.

I joined Stirling Bike Club because of Rhona’s cycling interest and the club really has become like an extended family to us. I’m not very good at sitting still and only being a supporting mom from the side-lines. Joining in just seemed the obvious thing to do. Also as an ex runner with sore knees it was great to find something physical that didn’t hurt my knees.

What’s the best thing about cycling?
The best bit is definitely the fresh air and exercise, also enjoying the company of friends, meeting new people, exploring the countryside and finding new cafes! Getting away with eating more cakes than I would otherwise is a big benefit.

Who inspires you?
As my friends will tell you I am a big fan of Chris Hoy. He has remained a humble Scot despite his success and fame and seems an all-round good guy.  

What’s you’re cycling highlight?
Personally getting to a point where I could ride round an SXC mountainbike race course without having to get off and walk the tricky bits has been a bit of a highlight.

What would be your advice for someone wanting to get involved with cycling?
Just throw yourself in there! Give it a go.

What one thing would help encourage women, like you, to get involved in cycling?
To definitely join a club like Stirling Bike Club.  It’s a great club at encouraging new cyclists along and no one ever gets left behind. The last year or two have seen a significant rise in the numbers of women in the club. Because of the quiet encouragement of club member Katherine, there are now several ladies giving racing a go.  There were 2 SBC ladies racing at the track for the first time at the last Saturday track league. One of them Carole only started racing last year and was the only competitor to race in all of the Dales sponsored series of ladies races last year and was rewarded with a Dales voucher and big bunch of flowers for her efforts.

And every cyclist loves cake… so what’s your favourite?
My favourite has to be a good chocolate brownie.

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