Kate commutes by bike to hospital where she has worked as an NHS nurse for the past 32 years. Recognising the importance to her and colleagues of staying active, Kate has been a source of motivation and encouragement to her fellow hospital workers, organising after work cycle rides and fundraising events to challenge themselves, take care of their wellbeing and sharing experiences.
Kate Watkins said…
“In early 2012 a lone Tube journey across London led ultimately to massive changes in my life, affecting my confidence, outlook, and enthusiasm for life... influencing (dragging) many close friends, family and work colleagues to join me in appreciating the sheer joy, hard work and sense of achievement cycling brings.
I’d lost confidence. I had become fearful of challenges and avoided new experiences; I was scared of crossing London on my own
“That Tube journey demonstrated to me that I’d lost confidence. I had become fearful of challenges and avoided new experiences; I was scared of crossing London on my own.
“In my 20s I’d travelled extensively, through Asia heading to New Zealand, much of it on my own – what had happened to my confidence? I was only 49.
“That day I decided to challenge myself.. My New Year’s resolution was to ‘not say no’ to ANYTHING (well, within limits)... my very first challenge was to say yes to a sponsored cycle from Glasgow to the Isle of Skye with eight nurse colleagues to raise funds for a new Stroke chair.
“We had to train, and plan and fundraise. That event kick-started my obsession with cycling, I loved the physical exertion, the training, the camaraderie, the blood, sweat and tears... I thought I was invincible after that, but learnt the hard way, through tough Skye winters, about endurance, nutrition, hills and wind.
“I work closely with colleagues in a small 20-bed general hospital, my speciality is chemotherapy and systemic anti-cancer treatments. A challenging and very rewarding job, I’ve been employed there for 32 years and still get tremendous fulfilment from my work, in particular from relationships with colleagues and patients.
There has been a huge shift in awareness, among staff of all ages, of the benefits of healthy diet and lifestyle, I genuinely feel motivated and enthusiastic hearing friends stories and goals, and am endlessly encouraging fitness routines and challenges
“Latterly there has been a huge shift in awareness, among staff of all ages, of the benefits of healthy diet and lifestyle, I genuinely feel motivated and enthusiastic hearing friends stories and goals, and am endlessly encouraging fitness routines and challenges.
“In this present climate of uncertainty, both personally and professionally, due to Covid-19, we are all in need of some measure of control where all other control has been taken from us, so many of us have subscribed to the challenges we instigated earlier in the year: ‘Mad March’ ‘Active April’... logging a 30-minute activity every day for those months to maintain fitness and sanity through stressful times.
“We all influence and tirelessly encourage each other, it’s been a lifeline for many of us, comparing stories, sharing fitness tips and healthy recipes. Being so addicted to cycling myself, it’s a real joy to see my grown-up kids and partners, my family and my friends discover their own type of cycling and heading off on their adventures.
“Our south Skye cycle group has evolved over the last few years, like- minded cycle enthusiasts of varying abilities and ages meet regularly to cycle quiet backroads together, to chat, compete and get the craic... an addictive and thoroughly rewarding weekly event for all.
“Loving Skye, loving cycling, loving life.”
Kate was nominated for the 100 Women in Cycling by Marsaili MacLeod who said:
“Kate champions the bicycle to women in the south of Skye. She encourages other women to get on their bikes and to believe in themselves.
“She is an NHS nurse who commutes by bike to the hospital. After a 12-hour shift, Kate encourages her female colleagues to cycle with her (or jog) for half an hour, to help them wind down and stay mentally and physically fit.
“She sets monthly Strava challenges and her infectious enthusiasm, and straight talking on why biking is good for you, gets friends and colleagues (many who would not have the motivation or confidence to do so otherwise) to participate and commit.
“She is inclusive and generous. She has pulled me around MTB trails and on long road rides when I didn’t think I had it in me to do it.
She has made a difference to many women by empowering them to be the person they want to be through cycling
“On our (informal) club rides she will wait back for new members and encourages new members to join, giving them the push they need. In this way, and with no recognition or credit, she has made a difference to many women by empowering them to be the person they want to be through cycling.”