Leanne was diagnosed with Epilepsy when she was 14; she had a prolonged seizure in 2015 when she was 25 and was left with a weakness in her left side. She needed to build her strength up again and immediately thought of cycling despite not being able to ride a bike.
She took lessons to learn to ride and her journey started with participation in women only group rides. Finding that she thoroughly enjoyed them, she progressed quickly and soon completed ride leader training to assist other riders. It changed her life and now she has four bikes - a hybrid, a mountain bike, a road bike and a track bike, showing the diversity in her cycling disciplines.
Since that time, Leanne has taken part in some challenging rides, including a six hour mountain bike challenge in Glenlivet, Pedal for Scotland Classic Challenge and Big Belter routes, SXC Dunoon and Cathkin Braes, Night Rider London and Night Rider Glasgow. She still suffers from regular seizures some of which result in hospital, stays however she never lets that stop her cycling. In her own words, "It's given me independence. It’s my escape. By helping other people to enjoy cycling it makes me feel that I have a purpose."
It's given me independence. It’s my escape. By helping other people to enjoy cycling it makes me feel that I have a purpose.
Leanne volunteers as a level 2 coach with Free Wheel North, a disability cycling charity where she helps encourage and support new cyclists to get into the sport. She runs coaching sessions, helps out on group rides, and is on the committee for Glasgow Gals. Leanne has also been accredited at the Velodrome and will be taking part in a 24 hour team challenge in October. This will be a tough challenge physically and mentally, but she's looking forward to it as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
During her volunteering work at a cycling charity in Glasgow, she sees when people are struggling and helps to find them alternative bikes. She is very aware of how different people and their cycling abilities can be, and she knows the most effective way to support their enjoyment of the cycling journey.She's also very knowledge about bikes and maintenance frequently offering advice if needed. Leanne faces many challenges but she never lets anything stop her riding her bikes.
"If I am unable to train or get on my bike due to a seizure or hospital stay then cycling just gives me the drive and determination to get back on my bike when I can and to prove to myself that I can do it, I am capable and I won’t let Epilepsy stop me."
Leanne's story clearly inspires others to give cycling a go, and her passion for cycling encourages others to push themselves to new challenges. "Leanne has only been cycling for a few years, but is already an inspiration to me and to many others. She was told she couldn’t ride a bike, due to her epilepsy but she first learnt to ride a bike, then a mountain bike, then a road bike and then a track bike for the velodrome!"
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.