Charul Singh 

Women's Cycling Advocate

Current cycling club?

Dublin Wheelers

What is your current age?

32 Years old

What cycling discipline are you involved in?

Road Endurance Cycling, I participated in racing days organised by Cycling Ireland Women's Commission in Corkagh park, Summer 2021 which I really enjoyed. I look forward to participating in the 2022 races. I love being involved in Sportives.

What age did you get involved?

My involvement with cycling came very naturally to me from my childhood days, it always felt as if I had some past life connection with the sport. Even 20 years ago very few kids were cycling in India, I continued to cycle as a kid in my local community and developed a strong love for bikes, and my parents had been an encouragement. Due to the environmental, societal and infrastructure challenges in India that doesn’t promote cycling for women, I could only continue cycling until the age of 14.

After moving to Ireland, at the age of 25, I got keenly involved in cycling and bought a bike soon after my arrival in Ireland. I used my bike to commute to college, leisure, long distance rides, going to the city for shopping. I officially signed up for Dublin Wheelers club in April, 2021 and within a few months, I have learnt a lot and have gained knowledge and experience from peers and mentors.

Why did you start cycling?

Moving to Ireland delighted me with an opportunity to get back on the bike once again and bring back those childhood memories and experiences back. My bike made me feel independent, young, strong, gave me a belongingness to my new Irish community and helped me integrate well. As I love spending time amidst nature, I could head out and explore the hidden treasures in the city and this would prove to be meditative for me as my cycling excursions always filled me up with fresh ideas and helped me destress.

Cycling continues to give me life lessons on the move and has made me mentally and physically strong and this is the most prominent reason that I never stopped cycling.

What has been your involvement in cycling, your story?

I started cycling for leisure, commuting and for exploring the limerick city when I moved to Ireland. I go for club spins over the weekend and I do some solo spins over the weekdays if the weather permits or else I would train in the gym and do weight, endurance and strength training to keep being consistent and disciplined with my training. I love cycling in Howth, Wicklow with my friends and mentors now when I am in Dublin. Hill Cycling is the best for endurance riders and I have seen myself developing in the hills.

In 2021, I enjoyed participating in Sportives and I look forward to more of them in 2022, I am so eager and training for them. I will be running my Women of Color group spins on Sunday’s to help the girls get confident on the roads and to support them the best I can. I have run Cycling Women of Color Spins 1, 2 and 3 in 2021 and they went really well. My 2022 goals are to train, get stronger and stay disciplined, learn from mentors and skilled people in the cycling sport ( Everyone is so willing to help another cyclist learn, develop and grow).

I look forward to participating in the sportives as the opportunity arises in 2022, I am very excited for a planned trip to Geneva to Nice and later Mallorca, in the New Year for which I will train to the best of my ability. I will continue to spread the word for cycling sport as this vision is close to my heart. I love Dublin wheelers club spins as those are one of the modes I learn, connect, network and get essential learning from my peer experienced riders.

Do you have a quote that you live by or inspires you?

Success doesn't just happen, you need to Believe, Plan, Take Action and Never Give Up. No matter what! ( Author unknown)

What have been your cycling highlights?

Recently I have shared my experience of cycling in Ireland with Irish Times, the read includes my cycling expeditions and journey:

I recently started a facebook and instagram group Cycling - Women of Color to promote cycling among women and people of color. I have successfully run 3 spins for the women who has expressed their interest in my cycling spin and were wanting to develop their confidence.

I had been training for endurance cycling with my club members and mentors. In the summer of 2021, I have been to several sportives as a solo rider and found them as great opportunities to learn, build confidence and remove any fears, meet new people, build a network, support a charity cause, and explore various parts of the country. I encourage people to attend sportives as I find them a great opportunity to train and support a local cause with the above mentioned.

How do you feel cycling has benefited you?

Cycling has benefited me in several ways throughout these years.

Cycling sport has helped me develop mentally, physically, and intellectually, and helped me connect with strong riders in the industry who continue to share their experience and want to see you as a successful and strong rider.

Shift in Attitude and Self Discovery: Participating in endurance cycling, sportives and being into some of the Corkagh Park B2 races in 2021 has helped me with a mental shift, that now I am more confident on myself than before and I have a strong unshakable belief system now that “I can do anything I will put my heart and soul into”, I can handle all the obstacles and challenges and I can be a winner.” Cycling made me believe in myself and helped me in my own self discovery and who I am as a person.

Nature and Environment: The sport brought me closer to nature, as I had always been a nature person. I started falling more in love with my environment, nature and greenery around me, and started caring more about my environment and sustainability. I have fallen in love with the hills that have contributed to the mental and physical success that I possess now, and there is a lot of room to improve and grow.

Mental and Physical health: Cycling has helped me keep myself mentally and physically strong, especially during covid era.I could take my bike and go and spend time out in nature, and eventually I also realised that my physical fitness and health has improved immensely with regular cycling.

Networking and Wisdom: Being involved in cycling, I have learnt about great Irish cycling achievements. I received opportunities to meet very successful and strong riders in the cycling sport who have continued to encourage me and shared their wisdom with me on various occasions and everyone loves to share their experience of the sport and helps you in your journey.

Commuting: When in college, as a student having a bike used to help me commute for college, groceries, work and other essentials and seeing the youth in the city using their bikes encouraged me even more to continue cycling. Being on the bike helped me be curious all the time and explore.

What is your favourite thing about cycling?

When I came to Ireland, I had a dream to cycle the entire Country on my bike, and this has recently come true by participating in the club rides, solo rides, events, sportives that happen in different parts of the country. I am sure that in 2022, I shall be able to cycle the places where I haven’t been yet by participating in cycling events that are in place for 2022. Cycling has made me realise my immense untapped potential and gives me surprises every now and then and it makes me fall in love with myself and nature. There is so much to express about cycling and more of it can be felt.Cycling sport has helped me in my self discovery.

What would you say to other females who may be interested in cycling?

I would ask women of all ages to experience cycling atleast once, if you haven’t yet done so. Even if you have to start slow, start somewhere and you will see that you are building up and very soon you will start experiencing your stronger and independent self. Start Slow and You will build up …… Just take that One Step. Join a local group and you will find the help and support that you will need. Please reach out for support and assistance and everyone will help you the best. Explore yourself, Get Stronger and realise your Stronger Potential on your bike.

How do you feel about becoming an Advocate?

I feel so proud and more confident to become an Advocate. I had been feeling so passionate about spreading awareness to the world on the benefits of cycling, be it commuting, leisure, or cycling sport. Working solo on this vision has its challenges when it comes to trying to create a wider impact. Being an Advocate with Cycling Ireland will give me more support and strength to go an extra mile to spread the word to the wider audience of the transformational abilities of cycling.