I’ve never been a particularly good team player. At school I always dreaded team sports and as an adult working in the corporate world I tried my hardest to avoid team building exercises where you had to decorate gingerbread houses and get judged on your ‘collaboration’.

To be honest with you, I much prefer solving problems on my own and most importantly doing it alone. I think that says a lot about why I am now self-employed, running a small copywriting business, away from any risk of being asked to collaborate!

www.instagram.com:soakuptheworld:

Image : SoakUpTheWorld

That said, two years ago I took up road cycling and at the same time I started a blog called Queen of the Mile’ where women could share their experiences and stories from the saddle. Having always been a runner, which is a typically solitary sport, I was used to going out alone and racking up miles. Cycling was different. It sparked a desire within me to ride with other people, learn from them and build a community.

Since those early days of cycling, I have actively grown a network of women cyclists that I meet without fail every week and go riding with. It might be for a few laps around London’s Regents Park or it could be a longer distance micro-adventure out to Surrey or Kent or even abroad.

For the first time in my life, I feel like I belong to a team that I want to nurture and collaborate with. I have realised through cycling that it is from sharing experiences that you make some of the best friendships. This could be helping each other to change a tyre at the side of the road or letting someone sit close to your back wheel, in your slipstream, if they are struggling.

Lorna North by Matt Austin

Matt Austin

Riding with these women allows me a chance to destress, share what is on my mind, talk about money, careers and life. It almost provides a sort of two-wheeled therapy session, during which you have fun, get fit and travel to somewhere new.

Lulu Lemon specialised biking gear

Lulu Lemon specialised biking gear

Cycling on my own would not be as fun and whilst I still cherish my own company, I am always looking forward to the morning rides or the weekend adventures we have planned.

I feel like this network has also enhanced my sense of belonging within London, my city and hometown. I explore more of it with my cycling group and my bike gives me a chance to see new places that I would have missed travelling underground on public transport.

Cycling has provided me with a like-minded network of women and has connected me to the city I love. It has a rare power to bring people closer together, allowing them to build friendships, de-stress and go exploring all at the same time.