• floraisabelperkins

The Blog post where…I express my gratitude.

I wanted to take this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to a whole load of people who have really helped me to progress in cycling, be it learning how to change an inner tube or learning how to change in a Madison.

People often save up their ‘thank yous’ for when it all comes to an end. My Hope is that this is only just the beginning. But I wanted to say some ‘thank yous’ now for those who have supported me this far. I have been blown away by the generosity of the cycling community and I hope this post really conveys that. It's a cliche, but I do truly believe that without these people I would not be cycling and I certainly wouldn't have been able to have so many great experiences.

First I want to thank my parents, as cheesy as it may be. They have not only been brilliant taxi drivers and financial backers, but have also provided masses of support and encouragement. They offer a wider perspective to my sometimes tunneled vision. They sacrifice a big chunk of their time and energy to allow me to train and race. I can't say thank you enough.

I also want to thank my coaches. My first coach, Iain Cook, and all those on British Cycling, helped me to realise that this cycling thing could be more than a hobby. Maybe even a dream. Those two years as a British Cycling Youth Apprentice were formative. They not only developed me as a rider but taught me a whole host of other skills: time management, people skills, organisation, things that I will continue to use for a long time. My current coach, Peter Georgi, has provided a new perspective on the sport. I feel he has really rounded me as a rider, focusing on both my weakness and strengths. I gained a deeper understanding of how cycling works and Peter has helped me realise that cycling goes way beyond just turning the pedals.

I thank Balfe’s Bikes, my local bike shop in Streatham, and the wonderful Tim Holroyde at Bellevue Bikes, who’s been like my own personal mechanic more times than is good for his business. Together they've helped me sort out numerous troublesome mechanical issues. They help keep my bikes running smoothly and ready to race.

Thank you to Bruce Karsten at Gravity Cycles as well as Stolen Goat and Sigma Sport have all helped me out with bits of kit over the years. Sigma Sport has helped me work on my position as well as providing me with specialised insoles and reductions on bikes. Gravity Cycles is always giving me bits and bobs as well as providing me with some race wheels. And Stolen Goats have been kind enough to give me some cycling kit, so that I am properly prepared for all weathers. They help with the extra things that really do make a difference.

Over the past couple of years, I've greatly benefitted from the support I've received from GLL. I've received not only financial aid but access to sports facilities. As I entered into the Junior Category I need the gym way more than I used to. Better gyms have been great at working to stay open and doing so safely, throughout the pandemic. I really appreciate their efforts because it allows me to continue to train.

Pedal Potential, the catalyst for me starting this blog, has also been a great help. Their financial backing makes the load on my parent's pockets a little lighter. They continued supporting me through Covid, despite the strain it's caused on so many businesses and charities. Here is a picture of their lovely and bright buff. I certainly won't be missed while wearing this!

Herne Hill Velodrome deserves a massive thank you. I can see myself looking back in years to come with fondness of the memories I've made there and the people I've met there. And I really do feel honored to know it so well.

Lastly, I want to thank VCL. The club has helped my development hugely. I pitched up at the track a few years ago now, knowing absolutely nothing. As my Dad says, ‘we didn't know what we didn't know’. But through friendships formed and advice given, I began to not only understand the world of cycling a little better, but also to enjoy it and feel like I belong in it.

The list of people to thank only grows year on year. I think part of what makes cycling so great is that it really is a community. Like many things in life, it's the people that make it. I plan and hope to be a part of this sport for much longer, if not forever.