People who cycle in Winchester #3: Valerie

Valerie, a cyclist

Hi, I’m a 64-yr-old non-lycra wearing, all-weather cyclist!

I have two bikes, Gertie a Raleigh and Daisy, a Triumph.

Gertie is the sturdier and heavier of the two bikes: my workhorse for work and shopping. She was rescued from the tip and restored for me.

Daisy is a gift from a 90-year-old lady who decided it was time to give up cycling! She is a lightweight bike – fine for a quick whizz into town and for summer cycling with less to carry.

My bikes offer flexibility. I can get to places a bus can’t and it’s quicker anyway as I don’t have to wait for the bus to come along. It is easier to carry things in Gertie’s removable basket than carrying bags by hand.

I invested in a full set of quality waterproofs which keeps me dry and I’ve got a selection of hats, scarves, headbands, glasses (summer and winter versions) and a visor wrap.

I’ve cycled most of my life. It was how I got to my secondary school and also to my Saturday job as a teenager. I worked at the bakers and probably my happiest cycling memory is pedalling home at tea-time with my shopper-bike loaded front and back with unsold bread and cakes!

When I lived in the Midlands in the 1980s I owned a car and drove a lot. The conditions were so poor for cycling and cyclists were looked down on – there was even a suggestion from Mrs Thatcher that anyone riding a pushbike or sitting on a bus had failed in life.

Fortunately there has been a big rethink.

I currently live in Lower Stanmore so my usual cycling route is via Ranelagh Road and Kingsgate Street into the city which is very pleasant. On Mondays I cycle to the library to read my email. I am a self-employed cleaner so on working days I cycle to my clients. They are mainly in Hyde as the hills up to Fulflood or Highcliffe would be a bit much for me now.

I don’t cycle on main roads as I don’t feel safe.

The Bike Hub has been a godsend for me and I have supported them since the early days at the YMCA in St John’s House.

I am a council tenant. I contacted the council asking them to convert the old boiler room where I live into a bike store … which they kindly did!

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