International womens day- 3 riders stories

Alison Salthouse – One in a Million

Alison starts her cycling journey

Why I got into cycling

I’m 60 this year and my goal is to podium at the UK Track Masters in June and maybe the World Championships in October………… but it hasn’t always been that way…In my late teens I played football – then did no sport or exercise again until I was 53 and fat.

I weighed 100kg, my Dad died of bowel cancer and my Mum became a couch potato, both suffered from type 2 diabetes. I felt something needed to change so I bought my first bike. How hard could it be, I’d ridden one as a child… In the bike shop I told them I didn’t want ‘curly handlebars’ or ‘funny clothes’ and would never ride more than 20 miles. I left with a flat bar hybrid.

3 months later I decided to go for my first ride. I couldn’t ride half a mile without getting out of breath. I rode home and collapsed on the sofa with jelly legs. How atrocious! It would have been so easy to give up there and then.

I wanted to change. I used social media to find a local social cycling group. I hooked up with a helpful man who took me out on a 3 mile loop from my house. There was a hill involved and I had to get off 3 times before I reached the top. It would have been so easy to give up there and then.

From Road to Track

Alison will be competing upon the new Ribble Track AL this year.

In the next 6 months I conquered the hill in one go. I set new goals – 5 miles, 10 miles, 15. I entered my first sportive – 13 miles…. And received my first medal. I was proud!

I signed up straight away for the following year…. And 52 miles! It gave me something to work towards. I bought a second hand ‘curly handlebar’ bike …. And lycra….

I started to lose weight, I got fitter and I loved it.

Since then I have accumulated 5 bikes – 2 roadies, a MTB, BMX and my best love – a track bike! Who would have thought it – riding a bike with no gears, no brakes and no freewheel…. In excess of 30mph on a track with 42 degree banking…. Eek!

When I first went on the track I wasn’t sure I would let go of the barrier – but once I got going I loved it. I feel completely in control of the bike – my legs, my power and totally at one with my bike.

I’m also a Breeze ride leader and take ladies out at the beginning of their cycling journeys. It’s my way of giving something back, like the man who helped me at the start of mine. I’ve attended ladies only sessions at Derby, Manchester and Newcastle Under Lyme velodromes. Some ladies find mixed sessions intimidating and ‘too fast’ so it’s great to have the opportunity to develop and ride in this way.

I now race…… I’ve taken part in ladies road track races. I’ve always been the oldest lady by far and often lapped – but I’ve taken part and loved every minute.

Biggest Achievement and Goals for 2019

Last year I was 4th in my age range in the UK Track Masters. It gave me a flavour, and a belief, that I could work hard and maybe get on the podium this year. I’ve now got a track coach and the support of Ribble (despite being old and a lady!) and am working hard to get there. I’ve been working in the gym, lifting weights and am now 30kg lighter than the beginning of my journey 6 years ago. I’m so looking forward to the rest of this year and everything that I have yet to accomplish – hopefully a podium and maybe a National or World Championship jersey…. Or both!

Alison competes regularly on the track circuit

Ailbhe Carroll -International Triathlete

Ailbhe in international action

Why I got into cycling

My love of cycling blossomed when I started the sport of triathlon. It soon became my favourite of the 3 as I found my long legs and almost 6 feet of height helped when it came to putting the power down. The simple art of pedaling a bike, in the countryside, seeing the world through your sunnies on a beautifully warm day…

Ya, it doesn’t get much better. Cycling has allowed me to see parts of the world I wouldn’t have seen if it weren’t for my two wheeled friends! It has also introduced me to many a new cafe and many a new brew and for both of these things, I am truly grateful!!!

Biggest achievement and Goals for 2019

In the cycling world my biggest achievement would be an u23 Time Trial national title. My goals for 2019 are pretty simple… Be better than I was in 2018 and progress further up through the rankings on the world stage. An exciting year lies ahead and I am very ready to get motoring!

Ailbhe competes nationally and internationally on the Triathlon circuit

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