Inspirational stories, sent to us from participants of past Women On Wheels events.
These Girls can! Mother and daughter team up to take on all four Women on Wheels events in 2019.
A mother and daughter from Great Finborough set themselves the challenge of taking on all four Women on Wheels events in 2019.
Eleanor (age 10) and her mother Steph, first started attending Women on Wheels events in 2017. Seeing a flyer in Revel Cycle Shop in Bury St Edmunds ignited their interest in WOW events, and there has been no looking back since!
Women on Wheels events are mass participation female-only bike rides, that put a strong focus on the fun, friendly and inclusive aspects of cycling, usually raising money for a local charity. Set up in 2014 to celebrate the inaugural Women’s Tour race which finished in Bury St Edmunds Suffolk, they are aimed at non-cyclists and existing cyclists alike, with routes of an achievable distance, and are open to all ages.
Steph said: “With some trepidation Eleanor and I commenced our first WOW cycle event in September 2017. Eleanor had only just turned 8 years old and I was not certain if she would be able to cope with the 23-mile route, but my fears were allayed and we did it!
In April 2018 Eleanor and I embarked on WOW Rendlesham, which was a totally different riding experience and to be honest we struggled with the route being mostly off road. However, the encouragement and support we received from the WOW team, supporters and riders was tremendous and spurred us on to the finish line.
Next on the 2018 WOW calendar for me was WOW Bury St Edmunds – 70 miles, but unfortunately I had to pull out through illness.
By now Eleanor had just turned 9 years old and we then undertook WOW Southwold in July. This was a lovely ride. However, only 5 miles in Eleanor announced “mummy my legs are tired”. At that point I did think what on earth have I done, only another 25 miles to go, but we made it and enjoyed an ice cream as a reward at the finish line and of course the goody bag!!
Eleanor and I then completed WOW Sudbury, which was a lovely 22 mile route and a great Café stop along the way. By now there were a few familiar faces popping up and they were so encouraging to Eleanor whilst out on the ride, not quite believing she was only 9 years old!
Having looked at the dates for WOW 2019 events we were very excited to see that we could put our names down for all of them. We set up a Just Giving page for Fresh Start New Beginnings which is one of the charities that WOW Kesgrave are supporting. This is a charity that I am aware of through my work, so thought it would be a great idea to raise money for this charity. Taking part in other WOW events and paying the entrance fee has been a great way to raise money for the chosen WOW charity.
“Eleanor and I have now completed WOW Bury, WOW Sudbury, WOW Southwold and WOW Kesgrave, all rides have been great, with lovely routes, amazing cake stops, fantastic organisers, marshals, supporters and riders.”
Patsy Johnson-Cisse, Income and Operations director at fresh Start, New beginnings, said; “We are thrilled to have been working with the team and putting together the Women On Wheels first event in Kesgrave. Working closely with Lighthouse women’s aid the event was hugely successful and we are really looking forward to 2020. A huge thank you to Stephanie and Eleanor for signing up and raising sponsorship on behalf of Fresh Start new beginnings. Their donation will really help a very small children’s charity help rebuild children’s futures.”
So far, Steph and Eleanor have raised more than £200 for fresh Start, New beginnings. If you would like to donate to the cause, you can do so by visiting: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stephanie-rose-eleanor-rose
“The WOW events are fabulous for all females who want to take part in a bike ride and perhaps have not got the confidence to go it alone.” Steph continues. “Our experience has been, that there is no pressure on the rider and it is definitely not a race. On every WOW event, we have taken part in, there is always so much encouragement and support from likeminded people and this makes it a very special event.
When asked why they decided to get on their bikes and ride WOW events, Steph replied: “Quite simply getting Eleanor and I out in the fresh air, keeping fit and enjoying the beautiful Suffolk countryside and the opportunity for cake of course. It has also given Eleanor and I special one to one time, chatting about nothing in particular and this also makes the miles pass by a lot quicker. The WOW events for Eleanor and I have allowed us to share a great sense of achievement, along with improving our fitness and mental wellbeing.”
The WOW family is quite simply fantastic and Suffolk is very lucky to have such committed people willing to give up their free time to make the WOW events happen.”
Cllr James Reeder, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Public Health and Prevention, said: “I would like to say a huge congratulations to Steph and Eleanor for this fantastic achievement.
Women on Wheels and events like it all contribute to our ambition to make Suffolk England’s most active county. It’s fantastic to see participant numbers growing and more and more people taking up cycling as a result of the Women’s tour and events like this.
Whatever your age, there’s strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you lead a healthier and happier life. The more you do, the better, and taking part in activities such as sports and exercise will make you even healthier.
Loving Every Second, Isla Kaye
I've been involved with WOW for two years now and each time I've loved every second.
The rides give me something to work towards throughout the year and whilst I've not been brave enough to try the 50 yet perhaps 2019 will be the year!
When I first signed up for WOW the furthest I'd ever ridden was 10 miles so completing the 20 mile the first year was a huge achievement for me.
In 2018 I had a spangly new bike following some amazing fundraising organised by the fabulous Mick Packer and supported by South Suffolk Leisure. This time round I completed the ride half an hour quicker! I was extremely chuffed!
The rides themselves are fab. They're always organised spectacularly and there is so much support on the day. The 20 mile route is gorgeous and goes through some lovely quiet little villages so you're not always followed by cars which I really appreciate.
I'd recommend the Sudbury WOW ride to any lady out there that enjoys a nice bike ride. It's a really great morning and is for a fabulous cause.
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.