Inspirational stories, sent to us from participants of past Women On Wheels events.
My First WOW Southwold Cycle Event 2018, Karen Oastler
I've only been cycling since January 2018 and the last time I got on a bike was over 35 years ago. For a couple of years I had been using my exercise bike at home as I didn't have the courage to ride in public, but after losing 8 stone my confidence has been getting stronger. So I decided to enter the WOW Southwold cycle event with my daughter. I felt I needed to enter it after watching the video advertising WOW on Facebook. I loved that it showed everyone happy and enjoying themselves and you could be any age and any level of fitness - well that was a definite event for a novice like me!
Previously I had done 2 bike events, which seemed very competitive and were very off-putting for someone unexperienced like me. I cycle for my own enjoyment and I am extremely proud with what I have achieved since January when I completed 2 miles round the village I live in.
Everyone involved in setting up the successful day and all the participants were so friendly. We even had the local mayor to start us off which was a lovely thing to do. I felt so relaxed and for once I didn't feel out of place with such a friendly atmosphere. This event was so different from the other two events I had completed previously. The route was superb, very well signposted and the marshals were all so friendly.
I will never forget cycling up the road towards the rugby club to the finish line. I could hear a bell and an air horn going off and people cheering and clapping. What a superb build up and I can honestly say I got very emotional crossing the finish line after completing the 30 mile challenge. The goodie bag was such a lovely gift which I wasn't expecting at all. Love the book which was in the bag, which I'm using to fill in all my cycling events and notes regarding those events! This helps me to remember the good events and not such enjoyable ones! The shopping bag has been fantastic and I'm using it all the time.
I can't wait for next year's challenge at Southwold and in the meantime I have entered the WOW Debenham challenge in September!
So if any ladies out there are thinking of doing a cycling event in the future, I can thoroughly recommend WOW!
So a huge thanks to everyone who made my first WOW event a very happy and memorable one.
From a very excited cyclist, Karen Oastler
I'd never heard of WOW until the other day on facebook.
I have already paid for myself and daughter to enter the Southwold bike challenge on Sunday so we are rearing to go.
I have only been cycling on the road since January 2018 as I wouldn't go out on a bike in front of the public, so I used to just use my exercise bike at home. Now 8 stone lighter, there's no stopping me. Tho I've still got 4 stone to go but now have the confidence to get out there and enjoy the freedom on my bike.
I'm so looking forward to Sunday as the last bike event I have done was the Norwich Swarm 32mile and it was so competitive...something I don't like as I cycle for enjoyment and achievement. I know by your website it won't be competitive at all.
I'm even thinking about doing the Wow cycle event in Debenham later on in the year.
Jane Jordan and Polly Cox, mum and daughter, enjoy a first together
We heard about WOW during the summer when a friend told me about an event in Southwold. I thought it was a brilliant idea, but could not join that event as we were on holiday at the time. The summer ticked on and the days got back to normal with school and weekends full of music lessons and generally filled with being busy. But by some stroke of luck WOW came our way once again, on a day when music lessons were postponed and Dad was not at work so could look after younger brother Leo (age 7).
Polly, then age 12, came home from school the Monday before WOW Debenham and asked if we could do the bike ride from the leisure centre on Saturday morning as clarinet was cancelled. “It's only six miles, won't take long and it'd be really good to raise some cash for the swimming pool project,” she said.
“Six miles, is that all, that's not worth getting out of bed for, there must be a longer route, too?” I asked and she duly informed me that there was a 16 or 18 mile ride and also to Stradbroke and back but that might be a bit far.
We decided on the mid-range route and got sorted – tyres pumped, gears oiled, helmets and comfy clothing.
Saturday proved bright and perfect cycling weather and we bowled along enjoying the beautiful day and good company. The miles were unnoticed and made the half way turn for the 18 miles route in 45 mins, so decided to go one to Stradbroke and do the full circuit – although the temptation of cake and tea at the Stradbroke pit stop was a good motivator.
We are not regular cyclists, just average, enthusiastic amateurs with fairly standard bikes that are more used to holiday tracks and the odd pub jaunt, but the opportunity to ride and organised marked route, in our own time with other girls inspired us. We've never been out together like this before so it was a maiden voyage in many respects and we both learned lots about ourselves and enjoyed the few hours of male free ‘us' time. A great bonding experience with a challenge that inspired us both. We are really proud of ourselves. Our pedal power impressed us both – I am not such an unfit 45-something. And although we were very familiar with the villages, roads and countryside that we passed through, it was lovely to see them from a different perspective and not from inside of a car.
Polly's bike caused us some problems, on the return route – gears that had a mind of their own – but we managed by swapping over and singing as we rode along to keep a pace. We were one of the last few home, but for non-club cyclists with mechanical difficulties we did ok, we were home with our boys for lunch we were proud (with few aches and pains, too).
I'd encourage any lady who likes to cycle to join a WOW event. It's supportive, fun and such an excellent way to raise money, exercise and enjoy Suffolk. It's a mum and daughter experience we intend to relive in the new year.
We are also hoping the ladies who did WOW Debenham will begin an informal cycling network via social media where we can get in touch and join together to ride out and about in and around our local area. Motivation is often all you need to get in the saddle and ride having a band of other inspired women will surely be an asset to our community – for girls young and old alike.
Thanks WOW – we love you.
We live in such a fabulous place that's ideal for cycling we should be making the most of WOW opportunities. Thanks for a brilliant time – you have inspired two generations to get on our bikes and enjoy girly time.