Full Name: Helen McKay
Rider Category: 2
Disciplines: Time trials and road races.
Career highlights: Placing 17th in the 2012 National 10 miles time trial. (I was riding a road bike, which they say is a disadvantage. I'm not sure. Whatever I did OK!)
Rider strengths: I love a time trial, racing against the clock), longer distances and endurance events.
Ambitions for 2013: I’d like to see Emma Pooley in action again – it was awesome to see her ride. I’m really exciting about racing as part of the CTC team and having a go at racing abroad. My ambition is for the CTC team to do well.
Greatest achievement: Either eating two breakfasts one hungry day or cycling and getting this far. I was never sporty, and was no good at PE, so this is all quite a surprise to me.
Favourite race and why: My favourite race was the 5 day stage race in Ireland, Rás na mBán last year. It’s the most challenging bit of riding that I’ve done so far, but fantastic riding and working together as a team.
Your first bike? It was a blue bike that I got when I was 5 years old. I remember very clearly racing around the garden with my sister pretending we were motorbike riders like Barry Sheen!
How did you get into cycling? I used to do a lot of spinning classes at the gym – in fact I was addicted to spinning. One of the gym instructors (tall Canadian, the kind you don't say no to) then said to me: “You know that you can do that outdoors, right?” That’s 4 years ago and that’s what first got me outside and on a bike. I started out with very little kit: just a basic bike, a helmet and a handbag with sandwiches and a map. I would challenge myself to how far I could go – 30 miles seemed really far then! Then I started doing rides on Sundays with my local bike shop in Crouch End in London. I started racing 3 years ago after finishing my MA.
What’s your daily commute like? I work from home, so I have a short commute from my bedroom via the kitchen to my living room!
Your favourite cycling memory? A ride from London to Cambridge and back in one day with my club London Phoenix. It was a fun day out enjoying the sunshine, riding fast in a group and sharing a bag of jellybabies.
Tips to women thinking about giving cycling a go or getting back on a bike? Don’t worry about getting any high tech stuff right away – When I started I just got on my old hybrid bike in trainers with an old handbag that contained food, phone and map. Just do it! Cycling has transformed my life - I am happy, healthy, have met so many wonderful people through it. Embrace the freedom and independence of it, and put your best pedal forwards!