Making new friends in a new city through track cycling

Wed 12 Jun 2019

We’ve received this inspirational story from Rebecca Greenham about her experiences of moving to a new city and knowing nobody, to getting on the track for the first time, getting accredited and making loads of new friends at the same time. Here is Rebecca’s story:

 “I moved to Derby two years ago to begin my real life in the adult world by starting a full-time job as a hospital pharmacist.

 “Leaving my university life behind, I was feeling very much alone in a new city and needed to make some new friends rapidly! I’d heard about the velodrome, Derby Arena, just on the other side of the city and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I knew I couldn’t come to this city and not give it a go at least once. 

 “I’d tried a few pool triathlons here and there over the previous year but I was otherwise a bit useless when it comes to cycling, let alone track cycling. It all felt a bit daunting but I didn’t need to worry though as I saw there was a women’s novice session which said you could turn up and just give it a go. Challenge accepted!

 “I was initially very nervous that I wouldn’t be fit enough but as soon as I got there everyone was really inclusive and welcoming, no matter what your ability.  I was instantly hooked. I soon got to know all the other ladies at the track. I’d always felt quite put off from giving road cycling clubs a go because they often seem quite male dominated but this was the perfect opportunity to try a new sport in a relaxed women’s only environment. With a little perseverance, I soon became accredited.

 “Since then, I’ve met some of my best friends through cycling and I love the exhilaration of seeing how far and fast I can push myself. I have tried my hand at most sessions at the track including the regular training sessions, derny sessions and I have even had a go at sprinting out of start gates, even if I did nearly fall out of it first time because I was laughing too much!

 “Trying to keep up with cycling whilst working full time and continuing to progress in the early stages of my career has been a real challenge but I use it to my advantage as a great stress reliever. I can have a really busy day and think I’m too tired to cycle but I know as soon as I’m clipped in and on my bike I feel exhilarated! The rush of spinning round the track soon takes away my worries. I even used to sacrifice a couple of hours sleep in between my night shifts to get to the track because I couldn’t bear to miss my sessions!

 “Being around many inspiring women who also cycle regularly at the track, I felt a real ambition to improve. I spent my first year riding a hire bike and once I’d rode my socks off on that, I got hold of my own bike and tried my hand at a racing. I’ve never looked back since. I used to lug my track bike on the bus much to the amusement of other passengers, with the chain wrapped in a supermarket carrier bag to ‘protect’ it! My attitude to track cycling always seems to amuse my friends. I’m not really interested in the latest aero kit (my first pair of cycling shoes were 99p off ebay!) and instead I am well-known for my loud, brightly colour cycling attire! I have an extreme obsession with snazzy cycling socks!”

If you’ve been inspired by Rebecca’s story, then you can find out more about the Women’s only pathway here