Annette Clough

Why did I start cycling?

I spent sixteen years involved in rowing with no real interest or knowledge of cycling, but after a few years of standing on the bank because of a back injury, I drifted away from the sport.

I then spent a number of years doing nothing much exercise-wise. I had a brief flirtation with Jive dancing and a Pashley bike, as I wanted to be Miss Marple, but that was it. In the meantime, my partner had taken up cycling after a knee operation and new shiny bike things kept appearing and taking my interest. In July 2013, I sold the Pashley and bought a road bike.

On my first time out I managed six miles across the Humber Bridge and back, which was a major achievement for me — on the Pashley I couldn’t even get up the hill to my house, let alone ride for six miles!

I also saw an article in a women’s cycling magazine about a women’s only club in Hull called the Sunday Girls Road Club. I googled them and signed up for a 15 mile introductory ride two weeks later.

That was basically the start of my cycling obsession. I started quite slowly but by Christmas 2013 I was going out every weekend.

In April 2014, I entered my first sportive — only 23 miles but still a massive achievement for me, and it goes on from there. In the August I completed Coast to Coast, the biggest physical achievement I’d ever done at that time.

I’ve now completed a number of sportives, including the Tour de Yorkshire and the 67 mile Selby Three Swans, and I did the Coast to Coast again in June, but this time I cycled up most of the hills instead of walking.

My next challenge is to complete the 2016 Ride London sportive, which I’m doing for Epilepsy Action.