Although Sue Priestley used to cycle in her up until her 20s, it wasn’t until almost 50 years later than she really fell back in love with her bike.
A few years ago, Sue tried to ride a friend’s tricycle. While that experience wasn’t a complete success, it did remind her how much she’d enjoyed cycling in the past. So the next day Sue bought herself a vintage folding shopper on eBay and started riding it.
She took part in Cycle60: an eight-session scheme to get people confident and able to ride for 10 miles and 60 minutes. Then she began to venture further, joined in with the local Cycling UK Lincoln Women’s group, and eventually upgraded to a bigger bike.
In July 2017, only a year after Sue started, she took part in the Women’s Festival of Cycling ride to Boston and back – a distance of 100 kilometres.
By October 2017, she’d been persuaded to take a HSBC UK Breeze ride leader course. Then, in early 2018, she joined with another ride leader to form a cycling group whose aim is to get people back on their bikes.
The rides I enjoy most will normally include the three Cs – a cuppa, cake and company.
Sue said: “I’m now 73 and I shall never be a speedy cyclist! But cycling has improved both my physical and mental wellbeing, and I’ve been able to explore new places, get out into the countryside around Lincoln and enjoy the freedom that being on a bike brings.
“The rides I enjoy most will normally include the three Cs – a cuppa, cake and company – and may also include stops to take pictures of beautiful and interesting things along the way.
“Cycling has helped me lose weight and get fitter, and it's low impact, which is good for me as an older person.
“Most of all, I love seeing other women get back on their bikes and start to enjoy the freedom that cycling brings.”
Sue was nominated for 100 Women in Cycling by Melanie Carroll, who said: “At the age of 70+ and after decades off a bike, Sue started cycling. She went from pootling to doing Cycle60 and learning road craft, to riding 100 kilometres.
“Despite her own doubts and despite anxiety sometimes, Sue didn't quit.
“A year after relearning to cycle, Sue started to inspire other women to cycle by training by becoming a Breeze Champion and leading rides that really encourage beginners and others to get on their bikes.
“She is an incredible lady who really helps other women to cycle!”
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.