Helen Quarmby: My journey from Zero to 44 miles

Summer is nearly here and it’s the perfect time to dust down your bike for a summer of cycling. We’ve been inspired recently by a lady named Helen Quarmby, who after 7 years has decided to get back on her bike and train for a 44 mile challenge ride. CityConnect have been giving her advice on how to meet the challenge.

Helen Quarmby, cycle challenge beginner said:

“It’s been years since I last rode a bike, it’s not that I’m currently physically inactive, I’m always out and about walking the dog but I have to admit this is a step up in exercise for me. I’m lucky to work for an organisation where we have the in house cycling team CityConnect, who I can go to for advice and support. Not everyone has that available to them and I’m sharing my story to help inspire other people like me to make a positive change in how they travel, socialise and enjoy time with their family.

“Starting from zero to forty four miles will be tough but I’m looking forward to becoming fit enough to ride to work, becoming slimmer and being able to get out and about on leisure rides over the summer.”

If you would like to kick-start your summer health regime by training for a challenge ride, take a look at the Sustrans top 10 challenging rides, British Cycling Sportives or plan your own ride with the CityConnect Cycle Journey Planner. Your challenge might be to cycle to work twice a week, or to ride for 30 minutes without stopping. No matter how big or small your challenge might be, it’s a great way to realise the benefits of cycling.

As well as developing leading cycling infrastructure projects such as the Leeds to Bradford Cycle Superhighway, the CityConnect team offers support to cyclists of all abilities and confidence levels. We can offer cycle training, led rides and have recently trained a new pool of cycling instructors for West Yorkshire. They also work with schools and businesses along the 14km Cycle Superhighway route to encourage traveling to school or work by bike. For anyone wanting to get back on their bike, they can visit the CityConnect website for more information or contact the team directly at cityconnect@westyorks-ca.gov.uk

Ben Still, Managing Director of West Yorkshire Combined Authority said:

“The West Yorkshire Combined Authority works to create infrastructure and environments where cycling can become a mainstream mode of travel. Support packages provided by the CityConnect team compliments the infrastructure and enables people to take advantage of it, making cycling and walking a natural travel choice, encouraging healthy lifestyles.

“Active travel has a key role to play in reducing emissions in West Yorkshire. Having recently launched the West Yorkshire Low Emissions Strategy, it is great to see that Helen is making the effort to help improve air quality, one car off the road is one step closer to an improved environment for all.

“We hope that people will follow Helen’s story, feel inspired to take on their own cycle challenge and continue to choose cycling as their preferred mode of travel.”

Helen would like to encourage people to join her this summer in setting themselves a cycle challenge, realise the health benefits of active travel and work towards a national goal of improving air quality.

Follow Helen's story to find out the highs and lows of getting from zero to 44 miles in 12 weeks.