Michelle is an HR professional in Leeds. She was diagnosed with depression in 2015 and was working through a recovery programme when she read about our free training for bike commuting with CityConnect Cycles on Facebook. Attending the training revived a childhood passion for cycling and helped get her back on the road.
"I had a bicycle as a child and lived in a village. I was free to roam and explore on my bike. But I stopped cycling during my teenage years and then life took over - university, career.
"For many years I struggled with not feeling well. I had a good job and a fortunate lifestyle but I was desperately sad and felt isolated, despite having good friends and a partner. When I was diagnosed with depression, I decided to come out of work for some time to recover. One of the things mum did was to buy me a bike but I avoided going out on it although it was right under my nose. I started working again and moving forward.
[quote text:I don’t have a car now, as I don’t really need one. The aim is to make my bike a form of transport.author:Michelle, Leeds}
"Then I saw an advert on Facebook for the CityConnect Cycles course. I couldn’t believe it was free!
"I went along and really enjoyed getting back on the bike. It felt like I had some strength again. I had done this off my own back, I was winning. I had the mindset of a driver so I got some tips from the trainer on how you should position yourself and signal on the road so you’re seen by the driver and can keep safe. I worked through the training and got good feedback. I also fell in love with the bike again!
"In the last few months I went through one of my darkest times and I had to put the bike away. It’s only been in the last few weeks that I’ve got back out on it again. The little rides feel great.
"I’ve ridden to work a couple of times. I suffer from fatigue so the first time I did it I was knackered and a bit sweaty, but it was a real sense of achievement. It’s only around two miles but it’s all up a long hill - like ripping off a plaster very slowly! I’m doing a little bit at a time, little and often, it will come."
"I don’t have a car now, as I don’t really need one. The aim is to make my bike a form of transport."