In 2015 Shona Hudson wanted to find some company to go out on her bike with. As well as not having the confidence to cycle with a club, Shona had the added problem of hearing problems that normally led to her avoiding groups.
She joined a Breeze group in Solihull and, thanks to the friendliness of the group and the ease with which she settled in, she was hooked. However, due to the noise in the after-ride café, she still found it difficult to socialise. Consequently - thinking there must be more ladies like her who struggle to hear and suffer a lack of confidence in social settings – Shona decided to become a Breeze Champion.
She joined Warwickshire Ladies Cycling Club (WLCC) and purposely set up rides to encourage ladies with hearing loss although, in reality she has found there is no need for a 'deaf only' ride because Breeze rides and WLCC are so inclusive.
However, Shona continues to be dedicated to spreading the word that cycling is a great activity for other ladies who have hearing loss. And in her own cycling, she has other achievements to be proud of – not least two century rides earlier this year.
Whatever disappointment or stress I face, a trip out on my bike chases it all away.
Shona said: “Cycling has been life changing for me. It has given me so much confidence, so many new friends and so many laughs because we all help each other. My life is now one of being involved in running rides as well as assisting.
“I have met other ladies who have hearing loss and they have given cycling a try because they see all of us doing it.
“I know through my deaf voluntary work how many people with hearing loss lose total confidence in going out and being with other people. Cycling gives you choices: you can cycle alone and yet be with people; you can cycle in pairs; you can go for a coffee afterwards or not. This is something that really helps people participate in a healthy activity.
“Cycling is so good for your mental and physical well being, and is so inclusive. Whatever disappointment or stress I face, a trip out on my bike chases it all away. If I do that with a group of ladies, I can guarantee I will meet someone who makes me forget my troubles and have a laugh.”
One of the people who nominated Shona for 100 Women in Cycling was British Cycling’s Karen Harvey, who said: “Shona was a nervous participant on Breeze. she was apprehensive about taking part in a group activity as she has had hearing loss from childhood.
“But she had such a great experience on her first Breeze ride that she was inspired to become a Breeze Champion herself and lead others on small group bike rides.
“Shona now regularly leads Breeze bike rides, is heavily involved with Warwickshire Ladies Cycling Club, and has offered her support and guidance to other volunteers on being inclusive on rides when people with hearing impairments attend.
“Shona has even found the confidence to try out the velodrome at Derby, and has acted as a real inspiration to many who know her.”
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.