"It's too fun to feel like exercise!"
Lisa Heselton lives in Middlesbrough and got back into cycling during lockdown to stay fit and healthy when her normal exercise routine was interrupted. She cycles regularly as a solo rider and with friends that she's made at the Thornaby Funriders Group. We asked Lisa to tell us why she loves cycling so much and here's her story...
"Cycling had been something that I've done a little over the years, mainly for commuting to work and the occasional casual ride.
Ordinarily, I can be found on eight wheels in the form of roller skates playing roller derby however that has been put on hold this year. So, through lockdown, determined to keep my fitness levels up, I became one of the many people who dusted off my old bike and headed out.
And over the summer, I completely fell in love with it again...
The feeling of exploration. Seeing the roads differently. The solitude. Being able to go at my own pace and go wherever the mood takes me.
I loved it so much I even ditched the old knackered boneshaker and bought a decent bike!
I cycled with a friend also when we were allowed to mix socially distanced again. She introduced me to TFG who welcomed me and opened up many new routes for me.
I may not get to go out as often now, but I do start itching for my bike again at least once a week. And now I'm watching the seasons change. Being out in the autumn sun and watching nature's colours change along my favourite cycle paths is beautiful.
I'm quite an outdoorsy person and run and walk a lot too, but each discipline brings something different.
Cycling has become my chill time. No distance goals, no PBs to chase, no dogs to keep by my side. This is where I completely lose myself in the landscape around me. This is where I explore. This is where I have no time constraints or any worries on my shoulders.
One woman, one bike and one packed lunch, and I'm sorted for a day!
To anyone wondering whether to dust off their bike, I'd definitely say go for it. It's a great way to travel. You can relax and enjoy the ride, experience the area from a completely different and refreshing perspective, and go as hard or gentle as you like. You control the pace. It's too fun to feel like exercise even though you're getting a great workout too. Just enjoy it and explore."
If you'd like to rediscover your love of bike riding, how about checking out our cycle maps for the whole of the Tees Valley and other advice on how to get started! Happy cycling!