In 2010 Susan was looking for a new active hobby. Having struggled with injuries from running and dislocated her shoulder on numerous occasions she decided that cycling may be her best option. She bought a hybrid bicycle which was far too big for her and joined a social cycling club. Fortunately, the social cycling club waited for her at the top of every hill, and so she continued to return each week and became hooked. She eventually swapped her large hybrid for a suitably sized road bike and started cycling even further.
The social cycling club were also tourers and they encouraged her to join them for a self-supported cycling tour from her home town of Leicester to Oxford. After this experience Susan knew that cycle touring was for her and spent the next 18 months looking for a tourer; eventually she purchased a Surly Long Haul Trucker.
Susan is a British Cycling Ride Leader and has worked as a Sky Ride Local ride leader and volunteered as a Breeze Champion leading groups on rides that vary in distance from 3 miles to 60 miles in and around Leicester and Leicestershire. In 2013 she assisted a friend who was a fellow Breeze Champion with organising and leading a group of 27 women across the South of France.
After this amazing experience Susan started to organise women only cycle tours around the UK and in the South of France. Her tours included Way of the Roses, The East Midlands to East Anglia, Coasts and Castles, Cycle touring in Somerset and Pedalling in Provence a tour which included tackling Mont Ventoux.
As well as organising group cycle tours Susan is an experienced solo cyclist and has undertaken numerous solo cycle tours in the UK; enjoying a mini adventure whenever possible. Her experience of organising tours and also riding solo eventually led her to pluck up the courage to solo cycle around the world for nearly 3 years. She visited 16 countries on 4 different continents and experienced the joys and pleasure of meeting so many wonderful, kind and generous people and the benefit of cycle touring which took her to interesting cities, towns and villages that were off the beaten track and rarely visited by tourists.
Susan is an active member of her local cycling community. She is a founder member of Leicester Women’s Velo; she served on the committee as treasurer for three years and is currently the club’s chair. She is also a founder member and club secretary for Ride on Sistas; a community cycling and cycle training group. She has encouraged other members of the cycling club to tour; which they now do regularly. In 2019 Susan was recognised as one of Cycling UK’s 100 Women in Cycling for the encouraging other women to ride their bicycles and for inspiring others to embark on cycle touring adventures.
Susan is a great proponent for encouraging women to get active. She is a personal trainer and has volunteered her time on various projects. She was awarded ‘Outstanding Contribution to Physical Activity’ for her voluntary work within the local community.
British Cycling Cycle Coach, Level 1 (2021)
British Cycling ride leadership, Level 1 (2012)
British Cycling ride leadership level 2 (2012)
VTCT Sports and Swedish Massage Level 3 (2006)
YMCA Personal Trainer Award Level 3 (2002)
Jo is a qualified British Cycling ride leader; she organises and leads women’s cycle ride using local on and off-road cycling routes of between 5 and 12 miles. These routes take in the areas around the magnificent Forest of Bowland, Beacon Fell, Lancaster and Morecambe Bay.
Jo Westwood: Cycling the Lancashire way
Jo started cycling in 2005 on a Halfords shop bike. It’s fair to say when she started cycling Jo didn’t have a clue how to cycle but enjoyed the freedom, fresh air and exercise regular cycling brings. Jo has had several bikes since then and now cycles on a Ridgeback Voyager touring bike. Jo lives in Preston where she cycles frequently using paths along the Guild Wheel, parks and on-road cycle lanes in the east of Preston. Jo is a Breeze Champion and for several years she has organised and led women’s cycle rides to encourage and support more women to cycle.
Cycle ride leadership and touring
Cycling the Lancashire way
In 2013 Jo organised and led a women’s self-supported weekend cycle tour of the Northern Loop of the Lancashire Cycleway (130 miles), and has since organised and led several tours of sections of the route covering Cottam, Kirkham Garstang, Scorton, Quernmore, Lancaster, Arnside, Silverdale, Borwick, Hornby, Slaidburn, Waddington, Longridge, Inglewhite and Woodplumpton.
Jo’s first international cycling touring adventure in 2013 involved packing her Ridgeback hybrid city bike for a two-week cycling and camping tour across France with women from all over the UK. The self-supported tour route started in Bordeaux and ended in Narbonne. The tour included sections of the beautiful Canal Du Midi, and the stunning medieval fortified city of Carcassonne in the South of France. Jo joined the tour for a week in the summer of 2014. In 2015 Jo travelled to Provence, spending two weeks cycling and camping around the region, with stop off points in Orange, Aix-en Provence and Remy-De- Provence. During the first week of the tour a stop off in Bedoin included cycling up the infamous and challenging Mont Ventoux.
Jo has marshalled and supported several cycling sportive events since 2012, for example the Great Manchester Cycle, Preston City Council’s Guild Wheel Challenge and Leicester Women’s Rapha 100. Since 2014 Jo has participated in several organised cycle rides, including 2-day coast to coast cycle tour from Glasson Dock in Lancashire to Flamborough Head in Yorkshire, with Garstang Cycling Club, 40k challenge with Breeze Champions at the Chester Cycletta and, Children in Need night ride around Preston with Ribble Valley Juniors.
Training and Qualifications
British Cycling ride leadership, Level 1 (2012)
British Cycling ride leadership level 2 (2016)
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