Women's Cycling Advocate
Current cycling club?
What is your current age?
What cycling discipline are you involved in?
Road, CX, Track
What age did you get involved?
Why did you start cycling?
I first started cycling on the seafront in Bray with my stabilizers and a basket on the front for my teddies! My dad is a randonneur and I wanted to cycle with him on his all-day adventures. He was a member of Orwell Wheelers who organise cycling sessions for youths every Sunday at Corkagh Park. I went along and was hooked. I loved learning skills through the different activities and just playing on my bike with the other children.
What has been your involvement in cycling, your story?
The youth sessions in Corkagh Park were a great introduction for me and made cycling fun!! They also include competitive activities geared toward racing. I got to see the older kids graduate to racing on the road and I really wanted to be like them and do the things they were doing. Olga Buckina was an under 12 at the time who happened to go to my school. I thought she was fab!! I was too young to race on the road but I got to race at Corkagh Park.
You can race on the road as an under 12 but before I was allowed I started to cycle to school as well as go on after school rides with my dad. This taught me to be aware of the rules of the road and how to stay safe. As soon as I was able, I entered as many races as I could and last year had the most amazing time cycling (sometimes just to Dun Laoghaire for ice cream) and racing.
Do you have a quote that you live by or inspires you?
“The race is won by the rider who can suffer the most” – Eddy Merckx
When I got really tired in races I would slow down and often get dropped by the group. In a race last summer at Corkagh Park I got a great lesson from Aine Reilly who help me realise that if I’m tired everyone else is probably tired as well. I just needed to be more determined.
What have been your cycling highlights?
Last summer, when I was 10, I rode my first 100k. It was just for fun, we had some coffee stops (I’m not allowed coffee but the hot chocolate was yum!) and met some baby goats along the way. I also raced a lot last year. There was an excellent series of races at Mondello, many road races and time trials as well as the Youth Nationals!! Meeting the other girls was awesome. I started racing cyclocross this season which has been so much fun. It is very different and there is lots of mud!! I went to watch the Ras na mBan and cycled out to meet the competitors at the time trial. I got to meet Team Ireland as well as some of the other amazing women like Yvonne Doran. I also watched the crit race which, was so exciting, and the final stage.
How do you feel cycling has benefitted you?
I’m definitely more determined! I feel fit and healthy, I’ve met lots of people and enjoyed being part of the community. I’m more confident trying new things and just giving it a go.
What is your favourite thing about cycling?
There are so many things to learn across the cycling disciplines and I’ve really enjoyed learning about road, track and cyclocross. There are lots of opportunities to attend training sessions and you learn a lot from the other riders. Even though you are competing against other riders they are always willing to share their knowledge.
What would you say to other females who may be interested in cycling?
Cycling can be lots of fun and it’s not just about racing. You might just want to enjoy riding the greenways through the summer or taking a spin for an ice cream. If you do want to compete, the womens racing community is such a friendly bunch and there will always be someone to help. Joining a club introduces you to lots of opportunities and it won’t take long before you know everyone on the racing circuit. Try everything and see what you like.
How do you feel about becoming an Advocate?
It’s important for girls to see other girls in cycling. Starting is sometimes the hardest thing. I’ve gotten so much help from the entire cycling community but there is something special about seeing other girls having fun and enjoying being on their bikes. Women like Yvonne Doran, Imogen Cotter and Team Ireland as well as the girls around me have inspired me and I’d love to do the same for other girls.