My name is Stephen. I live with greater independence and in the way I chose with support and enabling from ubu. I have always wanted to be a cyclist. Ever since I could remember, and as a little boy, I was inspired by seeing cyclists on television riding up mountains and climbing down hills.
I have owned and enjoyed riding bicycles for a long time, but the prospect of riding anywhere with hills, however much I wanted to, has always filled me with fear. I have tried riding down hills, but I’ve never been confident that I could control the speed. I started to think that I’d never be able to do it. If I was faced with cycling up a hill, I’d get off and walk. If I was to ride down a hill, I’d do the same.
All I ever thought was “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t”. But I started to realise that I really wanted to conquer my fear, because I love riding my bicycle and being out and about. Overcoming my anxiety about hill riding became a goal I chose to win for myself in the future. What I really needed to overcome my fear, and improve my riding skills was support and enabling from people who cared about me and who would give me encouragement whenever I needed it. Enablers from ubu listened to me talking about my fear and anxieties and helped me to make myself a training plan to overcome them and to be safe.
I decided to take it slowly, building up my road safety skills bit by bit. With practice each ride I pushed myself a little further. I went out riding with an Enabler from ubu twice a week. I began by taking flat routes, gradually building up to go on small hill climbs. It was hard work and at first my confidence was a bit low. But getting experience and practice really helped me to feel more at ease and in control. I knew I could do it.
I wanted to complete a tour of the North York Moors. I knew it was going to be challenging, so I worked hard, training for my big ride. When I felt ready, I set a date with my cycling partner from ubu. We started our ride of 51km from Whitby, taking in some serious hills and some amazing scenery. The exhilaration I felt as we cycled through the North York Moors was fantastic. It took us just under two and half hours to complete our route, that’s an average speed of 21.4 km and hour. Not bad!
All the hard work and the months of preparation paid off especially when we encountered Lythe Bank, near the beginning of our journey, just outside Sandsend. It’s a well-known and difficult hill unlike anything I had ever seen or tried before. But with lots of encouragement, I kept going and made it down the deep descent unscathed! I did it! I overcame my fear! Once I’d got through that first part, I knew I could finish the rest.
Although some of the other climbs on the route were pretty gruelling, I was feeling much more confident and in control of my speed. I was able to overcome a fear that I thought I never could and achieve a brilliant dream I always knew I should make real for myself. Now I’m ready to take on a new challenge, further, harder, even more exciting. Bring it on!
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