Key worker’s life transformed by Peggy the e-bike during lockdown

E-bike on promenade with sea behind
Peggy at Musselburgh seafront, one of Lidia’s favourite rides
Naming the e-bike Peggy, after Pegasus the mythical flying horse, Lidia Josvai told us how a loan from Cycling UK encouraged her to get back in the saddle after 10 years, helping ease her back pain and giving her confidence

Support worker Lidia Josvai, from Musselburgh in East Lothian, used to take the bus to work and lacked the energy for any exercise, spending her free time staying indoors and watching TV.

Now she looks forward to the fresh air, birdsong and scenery on her half-hour journey to and from work, thanks to Peggy the e-bike, on loan from Cycling UK.

When she’s not at work, Lidia has been exploring Musselburgh for the first time since moving there three years ago. She commented: “I need exercise to help with back pain, but I used to just come home from work and watch TV, I didn’t feel like doing any exercise. Now I can’t wait to get on the bike and explore. I love riding on the promenade as it doesn’t feel like exercise – it’s just fun!”

The last time Lidia cycled was in Budapest with her children. They are delighted that their mother has discovered an enjoyable form of exercise in her new life in Scotland.

She said: “The last time I was on a bike was 10 years ago, and my children are now adults. At first they were disappointed that I was using an e-bike as they thought that I wouldn’t get any exercise. When I explained to them that I still need to pedal and that sometimes I switch the power off to get fitter, they told me that they are so proud of me finally getting some exercise!”

Before lockdown things were very different.

Lidia works for the Thistle Foundation, providing one-to-one support to a woman with physical and learning disabilities. She previously used the bus for the three-mile journey from her home in East Lothian to her work base in Craigmillar, Edinburgh.

When the coronavirus crisis happened, she realised that she needed another way to travel to work. As the journey is too far to walk and she often has heavy bags to carry, she was pleased to be offered an e-cycle belonging to the Play Together on Pedals pre-school and families project.

Riding Peggy has given me my confidence back. She has changed my life!

Lidia Josvai, support worker the Thistle Foundation

Funded by Transport Scotland, the project teaches 3- to 5-year-olds to cycle through fun activities on balance and pedal bikes at free instructor-led sessions in Glasgow and Edinburgh. It also helps parents to work out cycling solutions in Edinburgh. It is a partnership between Cycling UK, Cycling Scotland and Play Scotland.

As the project cannot currently run due to the lockdown restrictions, all of its bikes, along with others belonging to Cycling UK projects across Scotland, have been offered to key workers and families for everyday journeys. So far around 80 bikes have been loaned out across Scotland.

Angie Kinghorn, senior development officer at Cycling UK, said: “We’re delighted that our bikes are being put to good use by local key workers like Lidia. It’s fantastic to hear that she’s really enjoying cycling and that it has boosted her confidence.

“Many people are using cycling as a safe way to get from A to B during lockdown, while others are finding it’s a real boost to their health and wellbeing. When it’s safe to do so we look forward to bringing our family cycling project to East Lothian, but in the meantime we can’t think of a better use for the bikes.”