When Kirsty turned 40 she decided to celebrate by taking on 40 different challenges. Quickly she took on the challenge of participating in a triathlon and then the London to Paris ride. The trip changed her life and she realised she wanted cycling to be a big part of her future. Since then she has become a Breeze ride leader and hosted Let's Ride Pop Up events in Leeds helping women, children and grandparents all discover the joys of cycling.
Kirsty Midgley said…
“I bought my first road bike 5 years ago from a Facebook selling site. It was yellow and second hand and weighed a ton. I’d decided, on my 40th birthday to celebrate the year by saying yes to 40 different challenges.
“I was a fairly inactive 40-year-old, so my first challenge was couch to 5k, within 6 months I ran a half marathon. Someone challenged me to do a triathlon, so I agreed. Then someone challenged me to ride London to Paris. I knew my old mountain bike wasn’t going to cut it so I bought the first good deal I could find on the internet.
“Within 6 months of buying the bike I mastered clip ins (after several falls), tackled several of Yorkshire’s finest hills and completed my first 100 mile ride - it seemed like enough training to take on four days in the saddle so just weeks before my 41st birthday I set off to Paris. It was the most incredible, life changing experience. For the first time in such a long time I believed in myself. I was so proud of my body; I was proud of my determination and I was proud of myself.
I knew no matter what life threw at me from then on cycling would be a part of it.
“I came home from Paris with a completely different mindset. I knew no matter what life threw at me from then on cycling would be a part of it.
“Soon after I got back I joined my first Breeze ride. The leader was so kind and caring and confident on the road - I left thinking feeling so inspired I just knew I wanted to do that. I wanted to help other women feel that comfortable on their bikes. I trained to be a Breeze ride leader in 2017.
“The opening of the Brownlee Centre in Leeds brought many amazing off-road cycling opportunities. When British Cycling asked for volunteers to help run ladies only session on the track I jumped at the chance to help, soon after they asked for help to open Pop Up session on the weekend.
“The sessions opened up the facility to families to come and ride, traffic free on the mile circuit - for free. Two and a half years and more than 50 events later I can’t even count how many children we’ve helped learn to ride. How many people I’ve watched grow in confidence. Grandparents we’ve helped back on the bike for the first time in 50 years.
There are so many amazing inspirational stories every weekend about how cycling has changed a life, a day, a mood I absolutely love being part of their journey.
“There are so many amazing inspirational stories every weekend about how cycling has changed a life, a day, a mood I absolutely love being part of their journey.
“Cycling has changed my life and giving that passion over to another person is worth every never ending climb in a head wind I’ve ever done!”
The person who nominated Kirsty for the 100 Women in Cycling said:
“Kirsty has given up every second weekend for the last two and a half years to run the Let's Ride Pop Up in Leeds. Rain, hail, wind, sun, snow she's there every other Sunday to make sure cycling is accessible and fun for everyone - from the very youngest to their grandparents returning to cycling after 50 years.
“She's always smiling and happy and inspires so many. Her enthusiasm and passion have ensured the event has grown from strength to strength and it's not uncommon for 300 people to attend the 2-hour free event.
“Over the last 2 and a half years almost 10,000 people have been to Kirsty's Let's Ride Pop Up, many returning week after week and asking for her personally for help and guidance. She has inspired so many and goes above and beyond to ensure everyone she speaks to falls in love with cycling.
“She's also a committed Breeze ride leader and is always looking at new events and ways to get more women and families on their bikes."