Despite facing some serious health issues, Gill Caine has demonstrated just what can be achieved with a bicycle.
Diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in 2009, Gill had to have two hip replacements in 2010 and a wrist fusion in 2016. But it didn’t stop her cycling from Land’s End to John o’ Groats in 2012, and in 2013 she took on an epic Dover to Cape Wrath ride.
However, it is her role in the local cycling community in Berwick-upon-Tweed that has had most effect. She first became involved arranging weekly training rides for the local cycling club, Berwick Wheelers. Then in 2015 she set up Puffin Cycling.
I hope to prove that anything is possible with determination and desire.
Gill said: “I started to realise how many people in our part of the Scottish Borders wanted to cycle but not at a club level. Really, we’re a group of friends who turn up to ride and look after each other, but I advertise the rides on Facebook under Puffin Cycling.
“Each year we have something to work for. In 2017 it was the first 100 for many of our group and last year I arranged a two-day supported coast-to-coast cycle for 29 people. In order to feel able to lead a group I completed a three-day Cycling UK Bike Tour Leaders course in 2015, along with First Aid in the Workplace and First Aid in the Outdoors.
“I love to be able to inspire others to take part and fulfil their potential. I am overweight, 56 years old and certainly not a stereotypical Lycra racing snake, but I hope to prove that anything is possible with determination and desire.”
One of Gill’s nominators for 100 Women in Cycling was Fiona Hunt, who said: “Gill is an inspiration for setting up Puffin Cycling based near Berwick upon Tweed.
“The group has Sunday morning rides with groups at different speeds, with the slowest - 'cafe group' - being suitable for beginners or returning cyclists. All groups finish their rides together for a cafe social stop. Regular turnouts of 30 or more are impressive in this area of low population.
“Gill also organises mid-week rides for training such as hill repeats, she has cycled LeJog and she is a local First Responder. And she does all this while coping with a chronic arthritic condition requiring specialist medication. What a girl!”
What is 100 Women in Cycling?
Cycling UK’s 100 Women in Cycling is an annual list celebrating inspirational women who are encouraging others to cycle.