As a child, despite the dedicated efforts of her family, Katie Susser never quite got the hang of cycling. She learnt at 20, taking adult lessons, but still didn’t take it up regularly until about 7 years later in 2015. Aged 27 she had seen her friends cycling everywhere around London, and the freedom it gave them, and she wanted a part of it. So she bought herself a sturdy hybrid - but was too scared to ride it home, and pushed it all the way to her door.

Katie asked a friend to take her to Regent’s Park so she could practice. “It was terrifying. My knuckles were white from gripping the handlebars so hard.” Soon she was cycling with her friend every weekend, and it took months of practice before she was confident enough to even free one hand to indicate with.

Gradually, her confidence grew and eventually she went from wobbly to riding to work all the way from her home in Kilburn to the hospital near the Thames where she works as a nurse.

“I clearly remember riding to work on Christmas Day 2015, with the sleet in my face, thinking this is what it’s all about!” She didn’t want to be a fair weather cyclist, and now describes the feeling of “total freedom” she gets with the rain in her face, and her hands so cold she can’t feel her fingers.

Katie admits now she’s totally evangelical about riding – this summer she even went island-hopping around the Hebrides with nothing but her bike and a couple of panniers.

“When I found about the Bike Project, I thought that sponsoring a bike was a great way to help give someone less fortunate than myself that same sense of freedom that I felt, when I first discovered the joy of cycling.

 “To me, cycling is more than just a means of getting from A to B. It helps me feel self-reliant and alive, in a way I never thought I would.”

 

If you’d like to Sponsor a Bike, click here and help refugees have the gift of sustainable transport, support and freedom.

Written on: 07 Dec 2017 | Author: Anna Chapman

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