Catherine Mahe: cycle trainer and British Cycling coach
I have ridden a bike on and off for years. I got my first bike in about 1958. It was a present for passing my eleven plus exam. It had no gears and I remember it had a bit of velvet ribbon round the hub which revolved as the wheel turned. I think it was to keep it clean.
That bike became my means of transport when I was young, and I used to ride to from home in Streatham to school in Clapham. When I eventually went off to university, my mother sold it to the rag and bone man for half a crown, but I never got the money!
Later when my own children were young, I saw a poster for Sutton Cycling Club which was just starting up. It was a club for children, no adult riders at all, and I took them along. In those days, they used to ride in the upper levels of a multi-storey car park in Sutton. They did circuits along the levels and up and down the ramps. My daughter Louise really loved it and developed into a strong rider.
Because Louise had had so much out of the club, I started to do a few bits to help out and to give something back. One of the things I helped develop was the Club Mark, which gave the club Go Ride and Sport England accreditation, and has helped teach youngsters who want to ride bikes.
The club offers both competition and fun. Not everybody wants to race, but some do and it’s important to give them that opportunity. Just as it is important to create a fun environment for those children who just want to ride their bikes, because that’s what they like doing.
I am now Club secretary of Sutton Cycling Club, and I am also a National Standards Bikeability instructor for Sutton Council, and a British Cycling coach. But I still can't ride a bike with gears properly!