Helen works with Pedal Revolution planning and managing all of their events. She started cycling five years ago and so can easily relate to the challenges faced by new cyclists. Helen is also a trained and practising sports therapist and a qualified British Cycling Level 2 coach leading some of the traffic-free Park Pedal rides which are aimed at new and returning family riders.
Helen Rainbow said…
“I started my cycling journey about five years ago when I joined Pedal Revolution as their events manager. While I could ride a bike, I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a cyclist. Traffic scared me, my skills on a bicycle were limited, my lack of knowledge on basic cycle maintenance shook my confidence and I was totally intimidated by the groups of fast, Lycra-clad cyclists that zoomed past me with effortless ease.
“The events keep me busy and though I don’t cycle as much as I could or should, I believe that cycling is enormously beneficial to our social, emotional and physical wellbeing. The freedom and peace you find whilst on your bike, the sense of achievement is second to none.
“Organising these events is incredibly hard work but enormously rewarding and I get great pleasure in giving people a brilliant day out and an experience to cherish. The photos of our cyclists on event days say it all.
“I am now a qualified British Cycling coach, lead rides for Park Pedal and our ladies' evening rides, I’ve enjoyed cycling in Spain and Italy as well as various places in the UK, on and off road.
“Park Pedal is perhaps the initiative that best mirrors my own cycling journey and I get the most out of helping people start their own journey and following their progress.
Park Pedal recognises that taking the first steps on any journey is always the hardest part. It is like no other cycling event, aimed at new, returning and family riders, it is a traffic-free five-mile ride to ignite and fuel your enthusiasm, passion and drive to start and enhance your cycling journey whatever your starting point
“Park Pedal recognises that taking the first steps on any journey is always the hardest part. It is like no other cycling event, aimed at new, returning and family riders, it is a traffic-free five-mile ride to ignite and fuel your enthusiasm, passion and drive to start and enhance your cycling journey whatever your starting point. We have an app to chart your own progress along the way and a reward scheme to keep you motivated.
“Our aim is to help break down those barriers that prevent you from starting your cycling journey. If you don’t have or can’t bring your own bike – we’ll lend you one, we have a mechanic on site to help your bike, and a sport therapist to help you.
“Our coaching team is there to guide you from your first pedal stroke to preparation for more serious cycle sports, Once you have mastered our five-mile traffic-free route and are up for the challenge, we have at least three café rides of around 10, 20 and more miles each week with experienced ride leaders to cycle with you along risk-assessed routes and a van to collect you if you or your bike just can’t make it back to base.
“And the best part? It’s all absolutely FREE!
“This year has been particularly challenging with all our events postponed – including Park Pedal. We’re doing our best to keep our regular riders motivated and encouraged through social media but cannot wait to resume our calendar of cycle events.
“We’re looking at new and innovative ideas to run Park Pedal and our events in a safe and responsible manner whilst adhering to social distancing guidelines.”
Helen was nominated for the 100 Women in Cycling by Kerry Barnard who said:
“Helen is part of the pedal revolution team. As well as organising several sportives/events they have run a weekly event called Park Pedal since last winter which is aimed at new, returning, family and under 16 riders.
"It fills a strange gap in cycling for those of us who just aren't up to the supposedly "entry level" 18mph social rides advertised by most cycling clubs.
"I ventured along wanting to get into cycling 'properly' as a way of getting fit and sometime after having children. I was unfit, sleep-deprived and intimidated, on the verge of running away scared, but Helen was so welcoming I stayed, went back the next week, and have been going ever since.
"The whole team, and the pedal revolution project, is amazing but it was Helen's gentle and sincere encouragement that started to build my confidence.
"Helen has also been working on introducing some women's rides during the week and bent over backwards to try to accommodate as many of our conflicting needs and schedules as possible, her effort was really appreciated and I'm hoping that we can continue this summer.
"Helens inspires me because she clearly loves cycling and passes that enthusiasm to others but without being overbearing. If she can help you she will. She does the boring bits manning the desk and holding the fort so that we can go out and feel the wind in our hair, but one day we'll get her free to come on a ride and she'll wipe the floor with us!"