Cycling came to Immy when she was at her lowest, suffering from a running injury, her physio suggested she cycle. She didn't know any women who cycled and assumed women didn't unless out of necessity. Immy bought a bike and fell in love, transforming her life in a quiet way, pushing life boundaries, helping her to deal with anxiety, improve her confidence and relationship with herself. She shares this journey through her Instagram account.
Immy Sykes said…
"I started cycling at a time I was at my lowest: working a job I hated, and with a recurring running injury that had rendered me useless. My physio suggested trying cycling to ‘keep my spirits up’ while I recovered.
"Initially I was hesitant. I didn’t know any women who cycled and couldn’t picture myself as one. I sort of assumed women didn’t really cycle unless out of necessity. I remember one day googling ‘women cyclists’ - just to have a look, and found Katherine Moore’s blog. Katherine’s adventures sparked an interest and I resolved to try - just while my injuries recovered.
"I bought my first bike - a Halford’s Pinnacle - and fell in love. I realised I could go further and faster on a bike than I could run, and felt braver too. I started to explore more, learning to enjoy exercise. I haven’t won awards, or races, and I haven’t done any big trips.
Cycling transformed my life in a much quieter way. Cycling pushes my boundaries; I live with anxiety, and am not very confident, but cycling improves my relationship with myself. I’ve become more self-reliant. Every ride, every puncture I fix myself, teaches me that I’m capable and this trickles into other aspects of my life
"Instead, cycling transformed my life in a much quieter way. Cycling pushes my boundaries; I live with anxiety, and am not very confident, but cycling improves my relationship with myself. I’ve become more self-reliant. Every ride, every puncture I fix myself, teaches me that I’m capable and this trickles into other aspects of my life. I changed jobs and got my masters - both fuelled by cycling. Similarly, I’m an advocate for slow cycling, and learnt about the history, plants, animals and people in my local area - I feel comfortable and connected to my home.
"I’m still learning, but share these experiences in the hope other women see cycling as a normal and viable option. I’m not special, and if that means people think ‘she’s like me’ or ‘that looks easy, maybe I’ll try it’, then I’ve passed on the gift of cycling, and I think that’s pretty great."
Immy was nominated for the 100 Women in Cycling by Sam Jones, who said:
"I've been following Immy on Instagram and have found their journey into cycling, their honesty on the ups and downs and enthusiasm really interesting and engaging. They're desire to get other women riding in their neck of the woods during the lockdown is inspiring, not to mention amusing!"