Today we are starting a new series of "My Story", where we share both our own sport or fitness stories alongside other peoples. To kick off the series our co-founder Caroline Towers is sharing her cycling story.
My Cycling Story
My cycling story began almost as soon as I born. I'm told I attended my first bike race at 1 month old as my dad was competing in the Three Peaks Cyclo-Cross race. However, my memories of cycling really begin when I was about 7 or 8 when my dad was competing in cyclo-cross every week.
My dad was a good rider, riding at a top level representing Yorkshire and England. As a child, I would spend most of my Sunday's during the winter months in muddy fields supporting him with a spare bike or cleaning the dirt off some wheels. It was lots of fun!
In the summer he would compete in road races and we would go to Austria for an annual bike race event in St Johann in Tirol. I used to speed around on his mountain bike (which would have been way too big for me) and even go up a big hill on the outskirts of town to watch the racing - It felt big at the time anyway! We travelled Europe for races and once in Belgium I even competed in a time trial and won a trophy.
Speaking of Belgium, I once got trampled on by some bell-ringing, over-enthusiastic Flanders fans whilst holding my dad's spare wheels too. There are highs and lows in any sport.
Even when we didn't plan it, there always seemed to be some kind of bike race we would come across, no matter where we were.
The Bike Business
After my parents divorced there were a few years when I only watched cycling on the TV. However, when I was 14 I started working in Pennine Cycles which my mum and step-dad are now owners of. This was a great way for me to earn some pocket money on Saturday's and school holidays.
Here, I was introduced to how a bike works and would do small mechanical jobs. I've attended trade shows around the country and even the world when I went to the biggest show, Interbike, in Las Vegas.
I've continued to have some involvement behind the scenes of the business and still do today.
Vive Le Tour
I also like to watch cycling races still. In 2012 I went to the Olympics in London to watch the road race. It was such a great day. I had a fantastic view on the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace, to see the riders speeding to the finish. There was a great atmosphere all around London that day.
Another great weekend of cycling was when the Grand Depart came to Yorkshire where I live, this was one of the best weekends. One of my favourite things was watching in the fan park in Harrogate and checking out the team buses afterwards - I think when you've seen as much cycling as I have over the years, it's nice to find things away from the crowds. It was also great to watch the peloton ride up a road I've been up on my bike - They went much faster though!
Following on from the Grand Depart came its legacy race the Tour de Yorkshire. Inspired by my life of cycling and the Tour de Yorkshire we created our Vive Le Yorkshire t-shirts. You can snap up your own t-shirt here.
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Cycling has been in my life, my whole life which is incredible and I'm sure it will continue to be over the years ahead.