ADPH Cycling – Guest blog

August 15, 2017 in ADPH Updates, Blog by admin

I can clearly remember getting the dreaded email from Tim Allison saying that he and his team were planning to start their annual public health bike challenge in sunny Southport and they would love to meet up with DsPH on the route to promote the health benefits of cycling.  All very good, except a photoshoot was inevitable and I hadn’t been anywhere near a bike for 15 years!  Thankfully I was able to get a lesson on a hire bike with our cycling development team who didn’t fall about laughing at me wobbling around cones and veering off onto the grass.  I managed 18 miles with the East Riding team that year and loved it.  I bought my own bike and haven’t looked back since.

The following year I rode the whole route coast to coast from Southport to Bridlington.  The next year the Irish contingent in Tim’s team decided it would be a good idea to add in Ireland to make it a coast to coast to coast ride so we duly headed off to Belfast on the ferry and then on to Sligo and Dublin before heading back to England meeting up with public health cyclists from Northern Ireland and the Republic along the way.  And then this year Wales got added into the mix.  And next year Scotland looks like it may be getting a visit.  Who knows it might be mainland Europe next!

Not only is the ride a great adventure and a real challenge, its also a great way to raise awareness of the health benefits of cycling.  This year on our Cities of Culture ride, the first formally linked to ADPH, we met up with more local cycling groups than ever along the route, made links with the Cycling UK team, and were joined by members of public health teams along the way.  Some people joined us for a few miles, others for a day and this year I actually had some female company for the whole route in the shape of Caroline Bloomfield from the Northern Ireland Public Health Agency.  It would be great to have more public health folk join us next year, especially more women – it could be for a few miles, a day or longer.  I’m not the fittest or the fastest cyclist by any means so there is no fear of being left behind!

Dr Janet Atherton, ADPH Honorary Member