From Crutches to Coast to Coast – My Cycling Journey, by Julia Davis


cycling blog images

Life before cycling- had you ever wanted to cycle before?

I have always liked keeping fit but in my 30’s I had a lot of health problems due to endometriosis, which meant years of no exercise. I had a number of operations, including a hysterectomy, and was advised to walk every day to help me recover.  I was unfit and felt worn down by everything. I started walking and gradually built in some jogging. This developed into running and before I knew it, I increased my distance until I could do a 5km Park Run.  I got stronger and fitter and joined the local running club. I had even signed up for a marathon because my training was going so well! My buzz came quickly crashing down shortly after when I had an accident and badly broke my ankle, and tore all my ligaments.

How did you first get into cycling?

Blog images 2 Five months after breaking my ankle, I was nowhere near being able to run and I was feeling very frustrated at being inactive again. I started to use my hybrid bike to exercise our lively dog as it was easier for me than walking. I enjoyed being out on a bike and found it didn’t aggravate my ankle too much.  My husband has always been a keen cyclist, and I always thought of it as his sport. But I woke up one day and decided I’d get a road bike and try cycling, so at least I could do something to help me get back to running.

Are there any barriers/challenges you have faced along your cycling journey?

I bought a road bike in the January sales and I can vividly remember my first attempt at going round the block. I felt very unstable and there was a lot to think about with brakes, gears and traffic. I could only manage with left hand turns as I was too scared to turn right and move across into the traffic! I also found it very cold and wasn’t sure it would be for me. I persevered and did a 10 mile bike ride, then 15, then 20 miles. I set myself the target of doing the 30 mile cafe ride at the cycling club, and felt a huge sense of achievement at getting to this milestone. I had a steep learning curve but I found other cyclists were supportive and happy to share advice. I started to cycle further and with faster groups, and after 6 months I completed my first 100 mile ride. It was then started to feel like a proper cyclist.

Tell us about Coast to Coast

My ankle was still causing me problems and last September I had an operation to remove bits of cartilage and bone spurs so it was back to cast, fracture boot and crutches. My husband signed up to do the Coast to Coast challenge,  150 miles in a day (from the West to the East coast). Even whilst I was on crutches I decided to sign up for it too! This gave me a real focus to get back on my bike. Just three months after surgery I was training and working to get my fitness back. It was hard to start at the beginning again, but my philosophy of just trying and doing a bit more each time gradually paid off. By Spring I was able to comfortably cycle distances of 70-80 miles. ‘Winter miles = summer smiles” was true for me.

How did you feel on completion of Coast to Coast?   

Blog images 3The journey of training for the event and doing this with my husband was as enjoyable as the event itself. But I had a huge sense of achievement when we successfully completed 150 miles from Seascale to Whitby. We climbed up many hills, including the well-known “Hardknott Pass”, starting and finishing together in 12 hours. It’s an achievement I feel extra proud of and especially because of the obstacles I’ve overcome.

Are there other proud cycling achievements?

In addition to completing the Coast to Coast, I am also competing in some of the Cycling Club challenges which include strava segments and a hill climbing league. I have also had a go at a Time Trial, a Circuit race and a road race. I never imagined I would do any of this and it has taken all of my courage to give these things a go. I’ve found there is a lot of learning and growth with each new challenge. It’s true that we tend to regret the things we don’t do more than the things we do.

Why did you decide to do the British Cyling Breeze Ride Leader course?

I only found out about Breeze when I was cycling regularly, and I wished I’d known about it when I first got started. I felt motivated to share my recent experiences of ‘being new’ to cycling with other women – to help them get on their bikes and improve their cycling. It’s a big leap from going round the block to joining a cycling club where the easiest rides are still 30 miles. Breeze offers a perfect solution – a safe, friendly, supportive environment for women to enjoy cycling together.

What are the next steps for you in cycling?

My next steps are to continue cycling with the club and competing in the various club challenges. I also plan to do some Sportives and trying more races – both Circuit and Road. I may even get my next level race licence.

For Breeze, I am looking forward to continuing to lead rides from Roundhay. I often lead slightly longer rides, 20-30 miles for ladies who cycle regularly or are looking for their next challenge.

I am also facilitating sessions at the Brownlee Centre closed road circuit. These provide a safe place for women to try road biking, improve their fitness and get advice from other Breeze champions.  It’s all free and bikes/helmets can be borrowed.

Blog images 4

When I first got on my road bike I had no idea I would achieve so much. I hope others will be inspired by my story to get out on their bikes, and that they will get as much enjoyment from it as I have!


Leeds Disability Sport News – November 2016

In Leeds

  • Voting has opened for Leeds Sports Awards 2017. A new voting system is in operation for senior achievers, with a standard nomination process for the other categories. Check out the website now for further information about this and how to purchase your tickets. Nominations close at midnight Wednesday 14th
  • Para-Swimming Come and Try Session is taking place at Morley Leisure Centre on Saturday 17th December, 3.30pm to 5.30pm. If you fancy yourself as the next Paralympic swimmer then come along to the event- this is suitable for all ages and impairment groups, for swimmers who are comfortable completing 25m unaided. Please register in advance by completing the form via the link or by e-mailing by Friday 9th December:

Outside Leeds

  • England Rugby with IMAS have developed a simple promotional guide to help explain the concept of Mixed Ability Rugby to potential clubs and committees, players (support services and carers), coaches and ‘Champions’ who have the drive to instigate and develop Mixed Ability Rugby Teams.
  • British Cycling National Paracycling Classification Assessment Day is taking place in Manchester on 26th January 2017, for bicycle, trike, and handcycle riders. All those planning to compete as a Paracyclist in 2017 who have not previously attended an assessment are required to take this opportunity in order to ease their passage to participate in next year’s domestic Paracycling competition programme. Contact Paul West for an appointment slot and more details before 10th January:

Tour de France legacy for Leeds

One element of Tour de France legacy is to grow the number of people qualified to lead cycle rides across the city. On Saturday 14 March Leeds City Council organised a British Cycling Level 1 Ride Leader course at Fearnville Leisure Centre in East Leeds.

The course was mainly aimed at adult participants from local cycling clubs and community organisations who had expressed some interest in offering cycling to their groups. The course lasted for one full day and was a mix of outdoor practical sessions and classroom based activity, delivered by two tutors from British Cycling

The course was free of charge to all the candidates, as it was fully funded through West Yorkshire Sport, Sport England and Leeds City Council’s Inspire a Generation programme.

All the participants signed up to an agreement which included:

  • Delivering a minimum 15 hours of led rides with their club or community
  • Log their activity on
  • Funding their own Emergency First Aid Course
  • Registering and updating their profile on West Yorkshire website
  • Completing a case study of their journey
  • An expectation they will continue to lead activity in Leeds once they are qualified

15 people attended the course and became qualified Level 1 Ride Leaders this will lead to more club and community rides and an increase in people cycling across the city.

For Further Information contact:

Paul Senior

Club Development Officer (LCC Sport and Active Lifestyles)


British Cycling and Sky Launch Ride Social!

Ride Social is Britain’s biggest social cycling community, helping you get together with like-minded cyclists and ride your way. The Ride Social website, powered by British Cycling, lets you  organise your own bike rides using your favourite routes. Share your ride for local cyclists to join and before you know it you have your own cycling group.

To celebrate the launch of Ride Social, British Cycling and Sky are offering you the chance to join a bike ride with a Team Sky cyclist!

Here’s what you need to do to be in with a chance of winning this fantastic experience:

  • Head to
  • Create a ride on Ride Social that takes place between 14th November –  8th February
  • Take a selfie of you and your group having fun on your ride
  • Upload this photo to Twitter and/or Instagram with the hashtag #ridesocial

Team Sky RideSocial selfie 2

Keep an eye online to see which Team Sky cyclist you’ll be joining. The prize ride will take place in spring 2015.  Log on to for a chance to ride with Team Sky and check out the new look Ride Social.

Leeds Disability Sport News- September 2014

In Leeds

  • Leeds Disability Tag Rugby Festival took place at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on the 23rd September with 18 teams and over 180 disabled people of all ages taking part. To read a report of the event click here. Leeds Rhinos have produced a video of the festival and this is available here.
  • Disability Sport Yorkshire Awards took place in September at Elland Road, with individuals, clubs and organisations involved in disability sport in Yorkshire honoured. To read a report of the awards including details of the Leeds winners click here.
  • Special Olympics European Games took place in Antwerp in September and Edward Williams from Leeds won a full set of medals as part of the Special Olympics GB team. Edward trains at the John Charles Centre for Sport on Tuesday evenings and does a variety of sports at Pudsey Gateway Club in Leeds.
  • Ticket 2 Tokyo wheelchair tennis day proved a success at Leeds Beckett University earlier this month. A national scheme run by the Tennis Foundation, in partnership with local providers such as the university and Leeds City Council, this provided a day of free wheelchair tennis coaching and talent identification for new and existing players of all ages and all ability levels.
  • Otley Sailing Club will be hosting the Northern Sailability regatta on Thursday 9th October, featuring Access 303 wide dinghies, which are incredibly accessible for all.
  • FA Coaching Disabled Footballers course will be taking place at Bruntcliffe School, Morley on the 11th This 6 hour workshop is aimed at coaches who are looking to develop adaptive coaching methods to include players with a disability in football sessions.
  • Leeds Disability Sports Camp will next be taking place in October half term, across 5 venues city-wide. Suitable for ages 8-19 years old, all ability levels and disabilities, and non-disabled siblings and friends are welcome to attend too. For further details and the application form please click here.
  • YMCAfit are running an Exercise and Disability course in Leeds at LA Fitness in Yeadon on the 8th and 9th This course will provide you with confidence and expertise in writing and delivering safe, effective and fun exercise programmes for a range of people with disabilities.
  • Funding guide for sport has been updated and is available to download on the Sport & Active Lifestyles section of the Leeds City Council website, providing a useful reference to current local, regional and national sports funding avenues.

Outside Leeds

  • City of York disability sport and activity newsletter for September is available to view now, detailing the latest disability sports across the city.
  • National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) have launched a coach bursary scheme. This aims to support young people and adults to gain formal sports coaching qualifications and empower them to deliver sports activities for deaf children and young people.
  • British Cycling are delivering disability cycling sessions at the National Cycling Centre, Manchester Velodrome throughout the year. Click on the link to register.
  • Boccia England has teamed up with the Youth Sport Trust to deliver national talent camps in 2014 and 2015, offering a developmental experience for coaches, officials and players.
  • DS Active are holding a National tennis festival for people with downs syndrome on Saturday 1st November at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton. Details will be posted shortly on
  • British Athletics are promoting a series of free Para Athletics Introduction Days for aspiring disabled athletes to train with specialist coaches across the Paralympic athletics events. Sessions are taking place in Loughborough in October, Manchester in November and Sheffield in January.