2021 has been a whirlwind of bike rides, badges, challenges, and lasting behavior change. Around the globe, the Love to Ride community has overcome barriers, pushed themselves to ride more, and encouraged others to do the same and you can see just how much in our 2021 Round-Up, but it’s not just our stats that tell us this; it’s the riders themselves.
Throughout 2021, our riders have been telling us their stories, sharing their pictures, and waxing lyrical about why they ride. In this very special blog post, we’re sharing some of the wonderful words and pictures that have come from bike riders around the world. You can read Stories and see the Photos that have been shared on the Love to Ride social feed, watch some heartwarming Videos we've collected from riders who have shared their experience of taking part in a challenge, and Rider Feedback from our post-challenge surveys.
Here you'll find a selection of our most heart-warming and powerful stories; from people who have overcome great obstacles to others that discovered the simple joys of riding a bike.
My Disability Does Not Prevent Me From Riding
I was a state meet qualifier in cross country in high school and a marathon runner with a personal best of 3:14 at the Disney Marathon. I started having difficulty walking and eventually could not run or ride a traditional bike anymore. I was then diagnosed with HSP-SPG 11 (Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia) in April of 2020. Despite the doors to running competitively and riding a traditional bike closing, I have embraced new challenges and setting new goals with my adaptive Catrike 559 bike. There's a bike for everyone! Disabilities don't have to stop you from getting outside, biking, and enjoying the outdoors! My favorite places to ride are the Palatka - Lake Butler Trail and the Hawthorn Trail. With a positive attitude, nothing is impossible! Get out there and ride!!!
Sometimes it is difficult to move my son away from the computer. Finally I did it. He said yes “I will try”. It was an amazing time and we both enjoyed talking during riding. When we arrived at home he said “Dad I want to do it again with you. My body feels powerful. Hug me”
My romance with cycling thanks to my ebike...
I have always been interested in riding a bike. Growing up (in Malaysia), our family could hardly afford a bike and I always watched with envy our neighbours rode their bikes. It wasn’t until years later that our family had a bike - one shared among all the siblings...
Fast forward (many) years later to our lives in New Zealand, beginning with Wellington. We finally bought our own bikes, but then we've hardly used them. There is always an excuse not to cycle, especially in Wellington - be it either too hilly or too windy!
Further fast forward (some) years later in Auckland, and thanks to advancement in e-bikes, I tried my hands on one and boy what a difference it made! It was fun, exhilarating and finally I could ride up those hills which I couldn't have done previously! I found the confidence, and with it, fun and excitement, to ride further and longer, both in time and distances.
I am still an occasional cyclist, riding mostly on weekends or in the evening in summer. And I also ride in and around my neighbourhood, although a loop can sometimes take up to 20+ kms, taking just over an hour's cycling time.
Overall, my e-bike has provided opportunities and rekindled my love of cycling. It is fun, a good way to enjoy the outdoors, and above all, it helps improve one's health too.
Biketober brought me back
As a kid I was encouraged by my cycling parents to get into cycling, racing, and the larger biking community. It ended up being a big part of my upbringing all the way through high school. It gave me a team to train and compete with, a community I could relate to, and an important sense of personal achievement.
As I went to college, entered the professional workforce, got married, and then went back for more school, cycling basically fell out of my life.
This year as a new year's resolution I said I was going to get back into cycling. I started off at a pretty good clip but as the months went on my mileage and commitment waned. I kept finding excuses like not knowing the Atlanta roads, not having time, no one to ride with, too hot, too cold, etc...
Through co-workers I learned about the Biketober event and got invited to the team. This event and month has reignited my former connection to the bike and given me that missing spark. Maybe it was having a team to ride for, or the words of encouragement, or the kind of thrill from "competition". Whatever it was, I'm a different cyclist after this month. I'm so excited to continue to ride to work every day, to train, to set goals and achieve personal bests.
Thank you Biketober. Thank you lovetoride.net, Thank you GTRI Thighs team, and thank you to the Atlanta cycling community.
Keep riding Y'all!
I loved Cycle September, it gave me my cycling mojo back and now I’m hooked! I’m fitter, happier and I’m learning new skills. I fitted a new set of mudguards on my bike today (something I’d have previously got my partner to do)🚴♀️. I also sold some old books so I could buy some new cycling gear. But the best thing is I haven’t had to put petrol in my car for over a month - what a saving! 💷 😀
Wheelie excited to be back on my bike!
After a fall a few years ago I never worked up the courage to get back on my bike - until being inspired by Cycle September. Since then I've loved riding my bike to work or to the shops, come rain (most common in Manchester) or shine. It genuinely always brings a smile to my face! As we enjoyed Cycle September so much, a few of us in the lab have decided to cycle the Coast to Coast route next year for charity, and now around 10 of our colleagues are keen to join in too! Thank you for encouraging me to get back on the bike, and for providing inspiration to take on more challenges.
Back on a bike after 35 years
I haven't been on a bike since my early teens when I had a bad accident with a car and nearly killed myself. I've also never had to learn to drive a car. but with the passing of my wife in 2020, I have had to get mobile in the local area and I have done that with an Ebike.
This has offered a chance for me to have independence, and not having to rely on others to drive me to places I need to go. And it's worked wonders for my general health and weight.
I can't imagine getting around any other way than on my E bike.
Cycling and Chemo
Cancer came back to visit me this year. I decided that Cancer Research needed more money to find ways to get rid of that unwanted visitor. So I gave myself the challenge of 1000 miles in 100 days. That is not that much but some days the chemotherapy so debilitated me that I could not get out. Other days I made up for it by cycling over 20 miles. All done locally on the local highways and byways. It was fun, especially when my son insisted on videoing me with his drone!
All of these images have been share to the Love to Ride Stories and Photos feed on the website. Riders love to get creative and share every aspect of their rides...and we love seeing them!
This feedback was collected from rider surveys that were sent out after the completion of Love to Ride workplace challenge.
“Cycle September has been an important part in helping develop a supportive cycling community in my workplace. It's a great scheme”
“Buying a bike has been the best decision I have made in many years. It started a gradual improvement in my fitness, which quickened and has now led to me doing things I have never done before”
“I have a good background of cycling, but this has been a brilliant way of encouraging others to ride and I have seen it make a huge difference for them”
“Since September I’ve remembered how much I enjoy riding my bike. The shops aren’t far away but I usually drive to save time but parking is hard to find. If I cycle, it’s no problem and much nicer to wave hello to my neighbours as I cycle past.”
“I love being part of the scheme and getting emails – it gives me hope I’ll get back on it!”
“We have more people cycling to work now than we did a year ago, in spite of some people working from home”
“I am really enjoying it now that I own a bike. I feel better and love being out in the fresh air. I have learnt how to ride in a variety of weather conditions and how to maintain my bike. Absolutely loving to ride!”
“I feel fitter/healthier for getting out there and pushing myself a bit more. Found new routes locally and met different people so THANKS very much. Will join again next year. (ps it also kept me sane in lockdown)” - Regular Rider
Hadn’t owned a bike for several years before my coworker emailed regarding the challenge so thought yes why not join, brought my self a cheap run of the mill bike and really enjoyed not just the physical activity bit the mental wellbeing help of distressing after working as a nurse on wards during the Covid pandemic. - New Rider
“I appreciate the COP26 badge. I joined a group of healthcare professionals cycling to COP26 to deliver several documents supporting the danger that climate change poses to children in particular. London to Glasgow, 8 days 540 miles!”
“The challenge inspired me to cycle more and now I’m hooked. It’s my happy place and I now I cycle everywhere. Hardly ever use the car” - Regular Rider
“The challenge was interrupted by a lockdown, but I like being part of the cycling community and I've become more dedicated to cycling as a way of life.” – Occasional Rider
“I love the buzz around the cycling challenge and seeing the people out on the cycle way for bike checks and ice blocks.“ - New Rider
“I love that you have this Challenge (I call it opportunity). You have encouraged, have invited many more cyclers to be out and about! Thank you. I love to see all this joyful activity while we are decreasing our carbon imprint. YAY”
“Logging my biking miles on your site gives me a way to keep track of progress. Enjoying that!”
We're incredibly grateful to our riders who filmed themselves talking about their biking tales. It's stories like these that keep us motivated to get more people riding!
Nothing brings the smiles quite like reading the reasons people ride. Here are a small collection but you can find reasons galore on the Love to Ride homepage.
“I ride because I love being outdoors & want to reduce my environmental impact.” - Ian O
“I ride because It helps me and my son get fit and spend time enjoying the outdoors” - Freya K
“I ride because I like pies and don't like sitting in traffic” - Graham D
“I ride because being out in the countryside you can feel the world is perfect” - Maureen C
“I ride because cycling makes daily life feel like vacation.” - Erik M
“I ride because it's fun! I love being outside, getting extra exercise and saving money on gas.” - Kevin K
“I ride because I want a healthy world, a healthy mind and a healthy body.” - Catalina O
“I ride because ... why would you drive when you can ride?” - Marc R
“I ride because it’s quick and easy to get to work ... and I get to see boats and pelicans on the way!” - Samantha W
“I ride because it makes me happy!” - Nicholas H
“I ride because my heart beats with excitement! Every breath fills with pride! My senses come alive !” - Jayden S
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