Cycling has always been a central part of Isla’s life.
The adventure began on the back of a tandem or tricycle as a child, as she travelled around Scotland and Europe with her sisters and parents. But she can also recall her very first bike:
“It was my sister’s old Trek. I kept stealing it on camping holidays until my parents finally gave it to me!”
As a teenager, Isla studied harp and piano at a music school for several years, before rediscovering that being outdoors is much more fulfilling. There is a clear connection between well-being and nature for Isla, who notes:
“Bikes bring so many opportunities for people – it’s not about racing, and it’s not about winning medals – it’s about community, mental health, wellbeing and a space where you can express yourself. For me, that’s been a massive part of who I am now, and I think Scottish Cycling do an amazing job of being really welcoming and giving everyone a chance to be part of the sport.”
“The cycling community is Scotland is the most important thing to me and it’s been my comfortable place ever since I was a kid, and it’s the place where I can be myself.”
“I’ve got friends in the cycling community that I’ve had since I was really young, and they’ve stayed with me and that’s really special as we’ve all progressed together as bike riders – it’s a really special part of my life.”
Growing up in the Borders, you could say Isla was always destined to be a mountain biker, with a plethora of mountain bike trails on her doorstep such as Glentress and Innerleithen. But it was having fun on her bike, both with family and friends, that she enjoys the most.
“My path to racing was very organic, and it’s only when I look back 10 years and think about how incredible, adventurous and full of stories my cycling career has been that I think about how special it is that I get to work at something I love every day. Even though it’s now my job, I think I’d be doing it for fun if it wasn’t!”
There’s a common theme when you speak to Isla. Passionate about people, doing her little bit to try and make the world a better place, and her infectious smile. Whether it’s the people she grew up riding with in Peebles, or the international racers from across the world she has befriended, Isla believes everyone should have the chance to ride a bike.
“I think Scottish Cycling do an amazing job of being really welcoming and giving everyone a chance to be part of the sport.”
“Something I really love to be part of within Scottish Cycling is their inclusivity – and I think that’s quite unique for sports federations, who often tend to be quite elitist and exclusive environments – but Scottish Cycling has this really nice way of including everyone and giving opportunities to everyone. They really look outside the box to find opportunities for everybody.”
“Everyone cares about the sport and cares about getting people on bikes, and that’s where it ends, in a way!”
Cycling truly is a sport for everyone – so why not give it a go today?
To find out more about the various different cycling disciplines, from mountain biking, to pump track, to recreational road riding, head to our ABOUT US page.