On Sunday 9th June, the roads of Birmingham were closed to traffic for a free annual cycling festival, Let’s Ride Birmingham.

Kheira is a Cycle Lead, based in Calthorpe Park. She led a group of cyclists on a ride to the start of the Let’s Ride festival.

I’m one of the ride leaders here. We’re going to lead of Lets Ride Birmingham to Millennium Point. Everyone’s really excited about it. It’s a family ride. We’ve got quite a few children. The good thing is that roads are going to be closed. We’ve got a cycle route we can follow so there’re no worries. It happens every year. It’s brilliant for new riders.

We’re part of Cycling UK, community cycling clubs.

We formed a few years ago. Lots of women were wanting to ride but were not able to ride. Birmingham City Council had the Hub, here. We started doing Learn to Ride, together in a group. Cycling UK took over and allowed us to become Ride Leaders and Instructors.

In this group there are about 8 Ride Leaders and we do rides on a regular basis. We find routes and we just go off. Usually our route is through Canon Hill, the Rea Valley, all the way to Bourneville. Sometimes we stop off at Cadburys and have coffee and come back. It’s a really lovely social ride. Making it really social rather than it being an exercise. Just to socialise and looking at nature and sometimes blackberry picking when it’s the right time. We really want to encourage people to enjoy nature and enjoy the ride as well as exercise obviously. Anybody can join.

If they can’t ride, we do Learn to Ride.

Can I just emphasise, Anybody can learn to ride! I’m in my fifties and I only starting learning to ride 4 or 5 years ago. If I can learn to ride and become a ride leader then anybody can ride.

I always wanted to ride because my children rode and their father could ride and he would teach them. I tried, but I kept falling and hurting.  But really here, it’s so, so easy to learn. We’ve got some fantastic instructors. Within a couple of sessions you can ride! Honestly, I can’t emphasise how good it is physically and for your mental health. Just being out and getting fresh air and being one with nature is beautiful.

We never give up. We rode in rain, in snow. The instructor is here every single session. It’s lovely riding in the rain.  Don’t give up because of the weather, because the weather here!