I had lived in Kent for many years of my life but two years ago I moved to Clacton. Just as I moved Covid lockdown hit and this was an extremely difficult time for me, as it was for a lot of people. I felt extremely isolated and lonely due to not knowing anybody from the area very well and limited social activity. My two sons lived in opposite ends of the country, and I found myself reaching quite a low point.
I initially heard about Essex Pedal Power through a friend who had seen an advert on social media. Essex Pedal Power provides a scheme whereby there is an opportunity to apply for a brand-new bike free of charge for eligible individuals and I happened to fit the criteria, so I decided to give it a shot and apply for the scheme.
I was accepted and next met Rosie from Essex Pedal Power who put me on a cycling training course as it had been some fifty years since I had ridden a bike. After about six weeks I received the first bike which was an amazing feeling for me.
What owning a bike has done for me is brilliant, I now ride around two to three times a week for nearly twenty miles each time, which is far more activity than I was doing beforehand. I have had my bike for just over a year now and have managed to lose one stone in weight and it has really increased my activity levels and as a result I feel much healthier.
Since joining the Essex Pedal Power community I have also set up a small cycling group of eight individuals that meet up and go on group rides together. Through this social interaction it has hugely improved my mental health and I feel more positive about life.
I volunteer within the community which it makes me feel good. People who I wouldn’t have met in normal circumstances but have met through the scheme have become mates, and we now go out together for rides and it’s great.
It’s improved my mental health no end. I feel so much better about myself and I’m getting regular exercise. Everything is much more positive than it was. It’s taken me from being completely isolated to going out and doing more social activity. Since then I have also taken up other activities such as learning to drive trains, as it has given me the confidence to pursue the passion I have had.
I never exercised before and now I feel so much better mentally and physically. My motivation continues through the people I have met and the friends I have made at Essex Pedal Power.
The biggest achievement since having the bike has been the effect it has had on my mental health; I have a more positive outlook on life, and it has instilled confidence in myself and belief that I can achieve things I want to do. Everyone at the community is very approachable, friendly and has a great sense of community.
You can find out more about Essex Pedal Power and if you are eligible for the scheme here: