As a working mum with two young children (Thing 1 and Thing 2) cycling for me is an escape!

I have always been sporty. Before my kids arrived I was into running and you would find me taking part in the more ‘dafter’ running related events. I’m new to road biking and although I’d dabbled with mountain biking in the past it was nothing hardcore - there is not enough body armour in the world to get me to speed down a rooted and rocky single track.

My husband has been a keen road cyclist for a few years and two weeks before my youngest child was due he bought me a road bike. After telling him where he could shove it, the bike sat in the garage for about five months.

It took me some time to get in the right frame of mind to actually get out.

When you become a mum your kids are the priority and everything else comes second. While I know my husband is perfectly capable of looking after the kids, I felt selfish and guilty because I was doing something for me. I was worried about leaving the kids and what state the house (and my husband!) would be in when I returned.

Leonie

A pregnant me with my gift!

So I started with a short cycle around the block, but soon realised I couldn’t fully enjoy it because I was so tired from being up half the night with Thing 1 and Thing 2. Then the guilt set in… I found myself thinking about my children and that I should get back to the house as quickly as possible.

I slowly built up my distance setting myself mini personal goals and eventually going out for longer rides. Now, I’m weaning myself off my addiction to Strava segments and setting larger goals – the Great Manchester Cycle being one of them.

Any female will tell you it’s hard being a working mum, but I’ve discovered that it’s important to also have time for yourself.

Of course, it’s easier said than done, and it took me a while to get the balance right.

However, I am fortunate enough that the office where I work has changing facilities so there is no excuse for me!

Come the weekend I try and get out as early as possible so I still have the majority of the day to spend with my kids. I also think it’s good for my kids to see me go out cycling and watch me take part in events, and it’s definitely been a great motivator to have them there cheering me on.

There will undoubtedly be thousands of women who aren’t confident enough to get on a bike and get outdoors. My advice to them would be get out and give it a go. If you don’t enjoy it then fair enough, at least you gave it a shot, but I’ve got a feeling there’ll be no stopping you.

 

Leonie will be taking part in the Great Manchester Cycle 52 miles distance. Follow her @Leonie_Kirk