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Is your road confidence stopping you from cycling?
A RALLYING cry is being sent out by the Guardian’s latest Pedal Power Ambassador.
Our Pedal Power campaign is all about inspiring our readers to cycle – from a run to the shops to a run out on forest trails.
Over the weeks we aim to cover how to get started in the different types of cycling and share inspirational stories from our growing stable of Pedal Power Ambassadors.
This week’s ambassador is Anne Ibrahim, who hopes to help break down some of the barriers that might stop people cycling by publically facing up to her own fears.
Anne is also the chief executive of Sport Cheshire, our latest Pedal Power partner.
PERHAPS you are a busy career girl or guy working long hours.
Maybe you are a full time parent running round after a demanding brood.
You could well be a mixture of the two, holding down a full time job and family life – with even less time or inclination to get on a bike.
You may be too bound up by self-consciousness and image to cycle, feeling like a bit of an idiot in a bicycle helmet and trainers, wobbling all over the place on a bike.
If so then read on, because Anne Ibrahim is all of these things.
But Anne, ironically the chief executive of Sport Cheshire, is determined to swap her high heels for trainers and get fit for life this year.
The 40-year-old single mum of three is a former St Nicholas Catholic High School pupil, where her PE report described her as ‘apathetic’.
She grew up in Winsford, lived much of her adult life in Hartford and has recently moved to Stanthorne, surrounded by beautiful countryside but on a fast and busy main road.
“I would describe myself as a couch potato,” she said.
“I work long hours, I have three children and two dogs so I get out for walks with the dogs but not much more than that.
“It’s too easy to have an excuse not to do anything.
“I felt inadequate during school PE – I wanted to win but didn’t feel I was any good at it and didn’t have any confidence.
“That then affects the rest of your life in terms of participation in sport.
“My background is in enterprise so as chief executive of Sport Cheshire I challenged the charity to be more enterprising.
“But it’s a level playing field so they’ve challenged me to be sporty.”
Anne has agreed to go trekking and white water rafting in Nepal in June but needs to get fit for the challenge.
She has started running but would love to get out on her bike, if she had more confidence.
“I like cycling and I like to do it as a family but only if it’s at a forest or somewhere private where I’m not going to run into thousands of people or have to go on the road,” she said.
“I’m rubbish at knowing the rules – whether you ride two abreast or one abreast and how you behave at traffic lights and things like that.
“I know that sounds silly but if I’m like that, how many others are like me?
“For me I feel stupid standing up as the CEO of the county sport partnership, part of a national network, and saying I’m not very good on a bike because I don’t know the rules of the road.
“But I’m happy to say that if it means other people feel they can say the same – part of my job is understanding the barriers stopping people.”
• We will follow Anne’s story as she gets gets her cycling momentum going in the next few months. Linked with this, Pedal Power, in conjunction with Sport Cheshire, is keen to hear how many people would be interested in a ‘cycle confidence’ workshop to help out with road skills and confidence with a view towards organising an event. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.