Michelle Regan is a Human Resources professional in Leeds. Michelle was diagnosed with depression in 2015 and she was working through a recovery programme when she found out about CityConnect’s free adult cycle training.
We caught up with Michelle to hear how attending the training revived a childhood passion for cycling and helped her get back on the road.
I had a bicycle as a child and lived in a village where I was free to roam and explore on two wheels, but I stopped cycling during my teenage years and then life took over – university, career.
For many years I struggled with not feeling well. I had a good job and a fortunate lifestyle but I just felt incredibly numb, and isolated from other people and life in general, despite having good friends and a partner.
When I was diagnosed with depression, I decided to come out of work for some time to recover.
One of the things mum did was to buy me a bike but I avoided going out on it although it was right under my nose.
I started working again and moving forward. Then I saw an advert on Facebook for CityConnect’s adult cycle training. I couldn’t believe it was free.
I went along and really enjoyed getting back on the bike. It felt like I had some strength again. I had done this off my own back, I was winning.
I had the mindset of a driver so I got some tips from the course leader on how you should position yourself and signal on the road so you’re seen by the driver and can keep safe.
I worked through the training and got good feedback. I also fell in love with the bike again.
In the last few months I went through one of my darkest times and I had to put the bike away.
It’s only been in the last few weeks since I’ve got back out on it again. The little rides feel great.
I’ve ridden to work a couple of times. I suffer from fatigue so the first time I did it I was very tired and a bit sweaty, but it was a real sense of achievement.
It’s only around two miles but it’s all up a long hill – like ripping off a plaster very slowly. I’m doing a bit at a time, little and often, and I know it will come.
I don’t have a car now as I don’t really need one. The aim is to use my bike for transport now.