As the best female riders in the world saddled-up, ready for this year’s instalment of the Women’s Tour, two Sudbury women were preparing to join them.
Sudbury does have a very competitive cycling club, however, these two members were not there on the start line on Wednesday morning to compete for the title against the likes of World and Olympic champion Dani King.
Instead they had been given a golden ticket to lead out the riders as a thank you for their efforts in the local community.
Kirsty White set up the Saturday morning juniors club at Great Cornard Leisure Centre two years ago, her remit including teaching tots right through to teens learning the skills for competitive cycling.
In reward Miss White and helper Rachel Smith were given the chance of a lifetime.
“I got the email early in the morning and I was just so excited,” said Miss White. “I wanted to phone everyone but it was too early.”
Far from racing to the front, the 43-year-old from Kiln Drive in Great Cornard, took her time to “savour the moment”.
For her the opportunity was a great one, but she saw the tour itself as a platform to encourage even more youngsters and families to take up the sport.
“It’s just so good for family cycling, it’s so good to get families out,” she said.
She feels many parents worry about their children cycling, however, she says the club offers a safe environment to learn, while at the same time giving opportunities for those that want to hone their skills for competitive riding in a number of disciplines.
She is particularly looking forward to the Women on Wheels event taking place in Sudbury on September 20, with the female only event and the Women’s Tour together providing both the role models and the opportunity for women and girls of all ages to get out on their bikes.
In a club of 130 riders in Sudbury she estimates female membership is only around five per cent of this figure.
For Kirsty the main thing however is to get children out and enjoying themselves.
“For me it’s the satisfaction of being able to see children having fun and doing something physical,” she said. “I do get annoyed with families all on digital gadgets and not being families anymore.”
For details visit www.cycleclubsudbury.co.uk.