A registered nurse in the NHS, Angela stopped cycling after graduating from nursing college. Later she was inspired by friends to try mountain biking and got hooked. She then gave road cycling a try and joined the Borders Belles to help her train for her first Sportive. She is now an integral part of the Belles, organising rides and encouraging other members.
Angela Plisga said…
“I am a registered nurse working for the NHS. I used to commute on my bike in the summer months to nursing college as student in the 90s. I was also a horse owner at that time, which was my main hobby, and I did not really ride bikes again for many years after.
“In September 2014 I bought myself a hardtail MTB after being inspired by a couple of people I met along my journey in life who told me how much fun cycling was. I started trail riding at Glentress 7stanes, which was great fun, and I went there regularly, initially on my own.
“In December that year I heard a friend at my spin class say that she was doing the 50-mile Tour de Lauder (TDL) sportive in April 2015 which intrigued me and I decided to sign up for it as wanted to challenge myself.
“I had not ridden a road bike since nursing college, so I bought one in February 2015, giving myself eight weeks to get fit for the sportive. During this time, I stumbled across the Borders Belles cycling group on Meetup and signed up for my first road ride, which was hosted by Ali and Carrie.
…I had such good fun and the girls were fantastic! They kept me motivated on the climbs and helped me get to grips with gearing and basic riding skills, and got me safely over my first cattle grid
“The 35-mile route was quite challenging for my first time out, but I had such good fun and the girls were fantastic! They kept me motivated on the climbs and helped me get to grips with gearing and basic riding skills, and got me safely over my first cattle grid!
“I still remember the feeling of achievement from that cycle and went back for more. I completed the 50-mile sportive in April 2015 and got my first medal. I cycled the event solo but never felt completely alone as all the participants were so friendly, the marshals and volunteers were fun and encouraging and the feed stations were amazing, packed with delicious treats.
“I wanted to experience more of that and so I have since taken part in many sportives of varying distances and locations and cycled my first 100 miles on Ride to the Sun sportive in 2016.
“I decided to challenge myself off road too and upgraded my hardtail to a full-suspension MTB. After some coaching I went on to do a couple of enduro races in 2017, which were definitely type 2 fun! I like to explore new things and so entered a couple of MTB orienteering events and also cycled in Mallorca and Lanzarote.
“I have organised many group rides on road and gravel for the Borders Belles group, both locally and further afield, consisting of training rides and all-ability social rides with a coffee and cake stop!
The next thing on my agenda is to organise some adventure riding with a night under the stars in a bivvy bag, to appreciate nature at its best, and I hope to encourage others to experience biking in this way too
“I recently created a flyer for Public Health NHS Borders for International Women’s Day 2020 showcasing the Borders Belles group. It offers inclusion and a safe space for women to chat, cycle and make new friends. The next thing on my agenda is to organise some adventure riding with a night under the stars in a bivvy bag, to appreciate nature at its best, and I hope to encourage others to experience biking in this way too.
“I love to post photos of my solo and group cycling adventures on social media, which really inspires others to come along and join me and experience the camaraderie and encouragement given from total strangers and friends alike on bikes. Cycling has changed my life in many ways, not only physically but for mental health and wellbeing and helps me to unwind and destress from my job and create a positive work–life balance.
“I have met such amazing friends on this journey who also inspire and motivate me to keep going when things get tough. I am a natural leader in life and simply feel joy and satisfaction when I am able to help others achieve what is possible for them.”
Angela was nominated for the 100 Women in Cycling by some of her cycle group friends.
Alison Morrison said: "Angie is always out and about in all weathers posting about her activities. She constantly posts useful links on our Facebook page of sportives and other events in the area. She is very enthusiastic about all types of cycling – road, mountain biking and gravel riding – and regularly provides alternative rides to cycling on the roads.
Going out with Angie can be a great adventure and everyone has a good time
“Going out with Angie can be a great adventure and everyone has a good time. Over the past couple of years Angie has organised a few days away over the new year and is always thinking of places to go away. She is an asset to the group and welcomes anyone that wants to come along."
Carrie Finn said: "I met Angie a good few years ago, she was relatively new to road cycling. My friend and I helped her get to grips with using her gears and gave her tips. Soon she was out on almost all the rides. She always had a grit and determination and a big smile. She is always easy to spot with all her pink cycling gear.
"Since those early days she grown massively in confidence and now regularly leads rides for our women's cycling group. She makes her rides as inclusive as possible and tries to get people’s views on what rides to lead. She has organised a lot of trips away, giving up her time to organise accommodation and sharing transport. She is always such a positive person and such a good laugh. Everyone in our club and in the Borders area who cycles knows and loves Angie. She has helped to get some members into mountain biking by organising rides with another cycling group, Edinburgh Mountain Bikers.
"She definitely has a passion for cycling and is always posting up pictures of her routes and gorgeous bikes. She has also organised for members to go on local walks – some members of our group who suffer from depression have loved these walks. She is a true star. She has a great personality and does not take herself too seriously. We love her to bits!"