Nikki is a specialist therapy assistant at Sheffield Community Brain Injury Team, supporting patients in their journey to get active after an injury. A late starter to cycling, Nikki is now truly hooked, cycling at every opportunity. She even completed a stage of the Tour de France, the Etape in 2018. As a passionate cyclist, her love of cycling means she's always keen to get clients trying cycling and introduces them to Sheffield Cycling 4 All (inclusive trike cycling group).
"My first bike ride was about five to six years ago. In my early 40s, a late starter, mother of two girls, I chose a nice day and cycled seven miles. I remember the ride, I felt like a child again. I was riding a second hand mountain bike, covered in rust, slipping on gear, etc. I remember the buzz that I felt when I cycled 10 miles! Double figures meant progress, little did I know that the target just keeps changing when cycling.
"I became more aware of kit available, keeping warm and dry is key I soon learnt on a rainy day, as is fuelling to avoid the 'bonk'. Once I'd got a few miles in my legs I was encouraged to try road cycling. I purchased my first road bike which included cleats/peddles. I never really looked back. I joined a novice cycling club who met up in the Peak District weekly, where I gained confidence and learnt skills on cycling etiquette.
"One male friend was going to France with his male friends to ride in the mountains. I made it my goal that I would get fit enough to ride in the mountains the following year which I did! I trained hard to show that a woman could be included, that I could keep up - and I did. I've cycled up Mont Ventoux, Alp du Huez, Mont Galibier to name a few over the years. I'd well and truly got the bug.
"For me personally it is a woman thing! A show of strength that we can, if we want, do anything. To inspire other women, that to ride 207 miles in one ride you must first ride seven miles. Anything is possible. 50,000 km later I'm still riding my bike. Though I'm taking time now to look at the surroundings, listen to the birds, wave to the cars and the people as I pass by. I feel I've done what I set out to do. Climb some mountains, do the classics, and hopefully inspire some others to jump on their bikes and pedal. Essentially that's all you have to do, just pedal."
Nikki Howarth was nominated for the 100 Women in Cycling by Tom Collister who said: "In her role as specialist therapy assistant for the Sheffield Community Brain Injury Team, Nikki frequently brings her clients to cycle in Hillsborough Park at our inclusive cycling project. She will accompany people on their first few cycles, providing encouragement and enthusiasm aplenty but is always keen to give people the confidence to visit the sessions independently. As well as this, Nikki often sings the praises of our project to colleagues who in turn bring people along to cycle."
Nikki frequently brings her clients to cycle in Hillsborough Park at our inclusive cycling project. She will accompany people on their first few cycles, providing encouragement and enthusiasm aplenty but is always keen to give people the confidence to visit the sessions independently.
She was also nominated by Rosemary Hill who said: "Nikki is a specialist therapy assistant at Sheffield Community Brain Injury Team. She supports people to get back into activity after a brain injury. As a passionate cyclist, it only makes sense that her love of cycling means she is always keen to get clients trying cycling and brings them down to Sheffield Cycling 4 All (inclusive trike cycling group). Over the last two years, Nikki has brought and supported over 10 people into regular cycling in Hillsborough Park."