For Pam Nelson, it was the chance spotting of a Colchester Cycling Campaign sign in a local pub that sent her life in a new direction and has seen her become one of the most powerful advocates for sustainable transport in the area.
Although Pam cycled as a child in rural Nottinghamshire, it was only after she got divorced and moved to Colchester for work in her mid 40s that things became serious. She spotted that Colchester Cycling Campaign sign, which said the group met in the pub once a month, and thought they might be an interesting bunch of people.
Pam went along to meet them, and she hasn't stopped since.
Pam was initially involved in organising social activities for members. Then she was voted CTC Volunteer of the Year for East Anglia in 2004. Then she helped organise Colchester's first 'In Town Without My Car day in 2005'. And that same year, she also did Bikeability instructor training.
And that was just for starters; Pam's list of subsequent achievements is staggering. She set up Cycle Training East (the first community interest company ‘CIC’ in Essex). She helped revive the Colchester CTC group in 2010 and started doing longer rides rather than just utility cycling. She was also Sustrans volunteer group coordinator from 2005-14.
She started work with Colchester Travel Plan Club in 2014. She helped to set up Colchester Bike Kitchen in 2015. She arranged Cycling UK ride leader training in November 2018 for six of her Sunday riders. And most recently, working with Essex County Council, Pam helped to obtain funding for a two-year community-led street design project, which started April 2019 in Winstree Road, Stanway.
Cycling has changed my life and it has enabled me to help other people change their lives, too.
Pam said: “Cycling has changed my life and it has enabled me to help other people change their lives, too.
“I love the fact that I arrive at work feeling energised and ready to get things done. And I love the Sunday rides in good company, with occasional ‘heritage stops’ at places of interest, too, of course.
“I got rid of my car and became an advocate for sustainable travel and now work in the sector. I rode London-Paris in 2017 in aid of St Helena Hospice. I never dreamed I'd be able to do that!”
Pam was nominated for 100 Women in Cycling by William Bramhill who said: “Pam works tirelessly to serve active transport with an emphasis on cycling. She has converted a hobby into a paid job but still uses her free time to promote bikes.
“Despite ill health over the past couple of years, she has brimmed with positivity and inspired even more Colchester people to take to two wheels.
“After 20 years of being a member of Colchester Cycling Campaign, CTC and Sustrans, Pam truly deserves this recognition.”
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.