To celebrate the Women’s Festival of Cycling we are featuring a series of interviews with inspiring female cyclists all throughout July.
Interview with Laura Sweet (@amamayaadventurebaby)
Why do you cycle?
It gives me a great sense of freedom. I love knowing I can cover a big distance in a short amount of time so even if I go wrong somewhere it won't take all day to correct. I also like going fast (for me) and appreciate any time I can spend outdoors in nature.
What first inspired you to start cycling?
My husband started mountain biking occasionally with my brother, I felt left out and bought a bike –– an entry level Giant Boulder. It wasn't great but it did the job and I loved mountain biking from that first ride on the Quantocks in Somerset.
Did you feel like there were any barriers in your way when starting out cycling?
The cost of bikes and equipment and my lack of knowledge. This is still a barrier for me –– there is so much kit I'd like to buy but can't afford. I plod on with my little Cannondale hardtail, it is almost beyond salvaging, but I love it. I still don't know enough, my bike skills need work, my map reading leaves a lot to be desired and I need to focus on learning to maintain my own bike effectively. But this is all stuff I know I can learn in time.
How does cycling benefit you?
My overall wellbeing. I feel happy on my bike even if the ride is tough. I get such a great feeling of achievement at the end of a long ride. I recently dragged my bike up Skiddaw in the Lakes, it took 3 hours of riding, pushing and carrying but I'll never forget that day or that descent. I have a feeling my bike is going to push me to do things I never thought I could. I can't wait to start riding the trails with my daughter when she's big enough.
What’s your best piece of advice for someone thinking about starting cycling?
You don't need the best bike, the best skills, the best of anything to enjoy riding at any level. You may even find you start surprising yourself. I'm off to cycle the Devon Coast 2 Coast in August and I'm planning to drag, carry and push my bike up Snowdon next too.