Alison’s cycling breakthrough!

“My bike had been gathering dust in the garage for over 10 years because of knee problems. Two new knee replacements and a repaired Achilles tendon made me wonder if I’d be able to use it again, but being at home during lockdown made me keen to try to get fit after years of inactivity. I really wasn’t sure I’d be able to make my legs do what they needed to do.

A friend told me about Cake Confidence with York Bike Belles as she’d tried it and loved it. So the first step was taken by contacting them and I was looking forward to my first session. I was even able to borrow a bike, knowing that mine was bit neglected.

It nearly all ended there – as sure enough, I really struggled to make my knees do enough for a full revolution of the pedals. However, at the moment of nearly quitting, Amy from York Bike Belles encouraged me to give it one more go as she thought I was close. That was the ‘eureka’ moment which she captured on camera.  I think the 2 young lads across the road walking past didn’t know what to think as this 50 something on a bike was squealing ‘I did it!’ in a quiet car park in Fulford…

I didn’t care – I was too excited at the breakthrough. From then on, each week, with the help of Amy and a session with the Council’s Urban Cycle Skills team, I really got going; progressing to something different each time to increase my confidence.  I particularly loved cycling round the cycle paths of beautiful Rowntree Park and along the river in great company, which I’d never done before. Stopping for coffee and chat (cake optional!) made it even more enjoyable.

I’m now happily cycling around where I live – which unfortunately is much hillier than Rowntree Park, but is much more satisfying than walking the usual lockdown circuit as I can now go further! It’s gradually increasing my fitness levels because I look forward to going out, rather than it being a chore (it’s still not easy, but I’m getting there) and now use my bike for short journeys instead of the car, so it’s pretty much a win-win.

I would really urge anyone who is thinking about or worried about getting on a bike, to take the first step and contact York Bike Belles. The lovely team are so supportive and encouraging – and it was great fun. This was the best thing I’ve done in a long time. Can’t recommend it enough!

I was given a York cycle route map too, so am planning to do a few of the routes – the world (well, York and beyond for the moment) is now my cycling oyster!”

#cakeconfidenceworks #cyclingbreakthroughs #lifesbetterbybike

PS: If you’d like to help others like Alison breakthrough into cycling, please do consider a donation to support our work. You can donate at