Christine is the first woman in our new ‘Why we cycle’ series for our International Women’s Day campaign.
Where are you based?
What do you do?
Mum of 2 school aged children, Administrator at University of Derby, Breeze champion, Sustrans volunteer, voluntary English teacher and volunteer at Derby Museums.
How long have you cycled for?
On and off for 27 years.
Why do you cycle?
Various reasons actually. Now I work in Derby it is the most cost effective and quickest way to get around. From where I live to where I work it takes me about 25 minutes and I haven’t got any issues in having to find somewhere to park. If I drove in it would take me about 40 minutes and unless I get to work before half past eight you can forget about finding a car parking space! I have a busy life where I have children as well so I think if I didn’t cycle, I don’t think I’d exercise so this keeps me fit. Also I am quite passionate about environmental issues and as a mother of two children, I’m extremely worried about what is in store for them in the next 40 to 50 years, especially as I see the failure of COP25 which means we’re not going to get anything sorted soon. It is my way of living by my values of making sure that I can try and live life more sustainable in the modern world with modern pressures.
There is another reason too. About 5 years ago because of the modern lifestyle as with a lot of people these days I started to suffer from anxiety and took some time off work because of that. Cycling and the exercise helps my mental health as well as my physical health.
Where is your favourite place to cycle in Derby?
I take Sustrans route 67 when I do the Nutbrook ride because you go along the canal and as you go through Sandiacre there are some lovely spots. As you get onto the Nutbrook trail you see the wildlife and fauna and then you get to the lovely clearing where the Nutbrook cafe is. It is always a nice spot.
What is your best piece of kit?
Probably at this time of year it is my base layer to keep me warm! As I’m passionate about getting women cycling, I try not to focus too much on the ‘all the gear no idea’. As long as I’ve got a good pair of padded leggings or shorts for comfort then it is just getting out there and not letting things like ‘I’ve not the right trainers, leggings or cycle top’ be a barrier.
What do you think could help more girls and women to cycle?
Safer cycling infrastructure on the roads is a huge barrier of why people don’t cycle. It is still this safety aspect I think. Making it more accessible if women are working too. They might think ‘I’ve got nowhere to change at work/keep my kit’ or ‘What if it is raining – where do I dry it?’. It is a joined up approach of having a much safer infrastructure but businesses recognising as part of their sustainability commitment that they need to have these kind of facilities available for their staff so they can make those choices.
How do you feel when you cycle in three words?
Alive, happy and free.