Happy Bike Week! Why do the women of Brighton love to cycle?

FitBits | Bike Week 2018 - Tess Agnew This Girl Can Ambassador and fitness blogger

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YAY it’s Bike Week! Time to celebrate all that’s great about cycling (I know, as if I didn’t do enough of that already). If you follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter you might realise that actually, for me, practically every week is Bike Week. For as long as I can remember I’ve loved to ride my bike. 

My childhood was filled with brightly coloured Universal BMXs (you know, the cool ones with the foam frame guards), and through college and uni I gained a mate’s BMX, an old Peugeot racer and bright pink Chopper. Now, my much loved mountain bikes and roadie take pride of place in our flat (never, ever outside!), and take me on all sorts of wheely adventures from Brighton and Sussex to Wales, Scotland and beyond. I wanna take the bikes abroad this year, starting with the road bike. It’s an alien world to me and I don’t know the first thing about travelling with a bike, so any tips on how to get / pack a bike box, where to fly to and good places to ride are much appreciated! 

For me, cycling brings me a world of joy – just as much joy as it did when I was a kid. It takes me right back to my childhood, razzing around the woods at the pump track on my BMX, riding round and round the block as fast as I could go, racing other kids and slowing only when my legs were burning and my lungs could take no more. Doing three paper rounds before school so I could ride my BMX on clear, 6am roads, or leaving it right to the last minute to ride home from town in time for my curfew, just to see how fast I could do it.

FitBits | Bike Week 2018 - Tess Agnew This Girl Can Ambassador and fitness blogger

Nowadays, I still chase that lung burn, but most of my cycling is done for fun and wellbeing. It literally feeds my soul, and tops me up with happy. I love nothing more than being outside on the wheels, whether that’s getting around town, commuting, on a long ride across the Downs or hitting the trails locally or in Wales. In fact Wales is my playground, and I wish it was nearer. If you’re looking for some incredible mountain biking, Wales is your place. Read my write up of the mountain bike trail centres in Wales that I’ve been to so far. 

The most beautiful place I’ve ever ridden my bike is Scotland, my happy place. Not because the actual riding we did was the best – it was far from flowy in places – but because of the magnificent scenery. And I mean magnificent. That trip totally blew my mind. You can read about it here if you fancy a bit of Scotland porn. 

I love how challenging cycling can be, whether it’s cranking up the gears and pushing hard on the road for the commute home (gonna get QOM on that Strava segment one day, I can feel it), or digging deep on a climb to get to the reward of the descent just that little bit quicker. I love scaring the shit out of myself down some flowy, rocky singletrack, but equally I love riding past queuing traffic knowing I’m gonna get there quicker, and I love that I can be anywhere I want in Brighton within 10mins on the bike. 

FitBits | Bike Week 2018 - Tess Agnew This Girl Can Ambassador and fitness blogger
The first time I reached the top of Ditchling Beacon 🙂 

I have to say actually, one thing I miss since becoming self employed is my mini daily commute. Even though it was just 2/3 miles each way to Hove I had my 30mins of cycling each day to wake up and wind down for a day in the office. Now that I work from home, in cafes and my amazing co-working space just 10mins away, I don’t need to commute every day, and I miss the routine. I think I’m gonna have to sort that out with a ‘commute’ home maybe… ride to F45 or the gym, then go for a little spin before coming back home to shower and start work? 

Anyway, enough about my love afair with my bikes – we’ll get a room, don’t worry… 

What do the women of Brighton love about cycling? 

As it’s Bike Week, I wanted to find out whether the women of Brighton love cycling as much as I do too, and what keeps them coming back for the ride. According to Sport England’s 2015/16 Active Lives Survey, Sussex has a higher proportion of people who cycle regularly (14.7%) than the national average, with Brighton (18.7%) and Chichester (23.6%) topping the table. Brighton doesn’t come as a surprise to me – we’re actually very set up for cycling here, I think. Lots of well maintained cycle lanes, stretching all along the seafront and to Stanmer Park and Hove if you go the right way. 

In the mornings the seafront cycle lanes are heaving with all sorts of bikes, it makes me happy to know that I can get to Worthing 80% off the road if I want to.  

FitBits | Bike Week 2018 - Tess Agnew This Girl Can Ambassador and fitness blogger

To celebrate Bike Week and find out what the women of Brighton love about cycling, I set out for a ride around the city with the GoPro in hand. I spoke to women of all ages and abilities with all sorts of bikes. The answers are inspiring and confirmed everything I already knew about this wonderful sport. Seeing them get all giddy when they spoke about how it evokes childhood memories, brings them joy and makes them feel free reminded me of exactly why I love to ride. The fact that it also saves them money, keeps them fit and helps them get around the city nice and easy is a happy side effect. 

THIS, is why we ride….

What’s next? 
I’ve got a big few months on the bikes planned so read about my summer cycling goals, including my first century ride at Velo South, and longest XC ride at the BHF South East Coast next month. And if you’re still hungry for more, catch up on other bike-shaped blogs below: 

7 ways to get into mountain biking

My first Breeze women’s cycle ride (video)

Things I’ve learnt on the longer cycle commute

My solo South Downs Way ride – from Winchester to Petersfield


Visit This Girl Can and Active Sussex to find out more about cycling in Sussex, and check out Bike Week UK and Love to Ride Brighton to log your rides.

What do you love about cycling? 

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