I’m Izzy, it feels like I’ve been riding my bike for almost as long as I could walk, which has been cemented by a very keen cycling family. Growing up in South Wales lent itself to a love of mountain biking (MTB), which included at least two MTB themed birthday parties in primary school.
I joined my local cycling club, Maindy Flyers, when I was about 9 or 10, I think mainly because riding the skyline trail at Glyncorrwg wasn’t a very realistic after school activity! Joining the club opened up new types of cycling to me, I hadn’t done much road and definitely no track riding, so I got stuck in, and with training three nights a week I was completely hooked.
I tried mountain bike racing, cyclocross racing, and a road crit before I figured out that the racing life wasn’t quite for me, but I enjoyed the training sessions so much that I kept going. I did the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award through high school, and that gave me the opportunity to do my volunteering commitment with Maindy; at this point my riding had fallen by the wayside a bit, but I was eager to get back involved with cycling.
At Maindy I helped with everything from balance bikes sessions, teaching kids how to ride their bikes, and supporting the club freewheel and fixed wheel training sessions. The other coaches at Maindy encouraged me to get my level 1 coaching qualification, and that got me hooked on coaching. My main coaching ‘technique’ is to try to be the kind of coach I’d have loved to have when I was younger.
I moved up to Edinburgh for university, and so I couldn’t help out at Maindy in Cardiff any more, although I try and pop down every time I’m back. Before I’d left, one of the coaches suggested I drop Edinburgh Road Club (ERC) a line in connection to Meadowbank, little did I know that it had been demolished! When I finally got in touch with the youth coaches at ERC, they suggested I come along to the Go-Ride sessions at Inch Park. I had great fun, and promptly bought a cyclocross bike from the shop around the corner the next day.
With Edinburgh RC alongside university, I did my level 2 coaching qualification, and was encouraged to join Scottish Cycling’s Young People’s Panel for its first inception. The first couple of years with ERC highlighted to me how much I enjoy volunteering, whether it’s coaching, or helping out at events, or anything really; it became a space completely free from the stresses of university, and kept a sense of continuity from childhood that I loved.
I took a bigger role in the coaching team to help restart the youth sessions post lockdown, with lots of help from more experienced folks to show me the ropes, and to help get me outside and active again. It was a slow start, but we picked ourselves back up again fairly well, I think.
When I graduated from university, the Youth Convenor position for ERC was vacant, and I volunteered to run for it, thinking I would have more free time with just a 9-5, rather than the 8-11 that my studies demanded from me. Again, with lots of help from others, I got stuck in and have been in the role since October 2022.
Being on the committee has given me a wider overview of the whole club, and the ability to start actioning my long list of grand plans for the youth section; including reinstating the club development officer role, with help from Scottish Cycling’s Accelerate and Activate partnership, and running coached mountain bike sessions for our riders. I really enjoy volunteering with ERC and hope to continue doing so, but most importantly, I hope that the kids enjoy the sessions, and races we organise for them.
Interested in becoming a coach? There is a British Cycling Ignite Bursary available to women and girls, offering discounts of up to 55%. Please email [email protected] for more information.
If you would like to share your experience of cycling for our monthly Scottish Cycling BlogHer article, please email Melanie, our Women and Girls Development Manager, on: [email protected]