Meet our new intern: Emma’s cycling story

Camcycle’s new intern Emma Pritchard shown beginning her Bikeability course with Nancy from Outspoken Training and riding her bike as a teenager in Denmark.
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Growing up in one of Cambridgeshire’s market towns, I learned to cycle at a young age. But for me, it has been a bumpy road. As a young girl, I spent my summers cycling the scenic forests and along the coastline in Denmark, and although clumsy at times, I loved it.

One summer, however, I had a bad fall on an old track: suffice it to say, I was not paying attention. Being only eleven at the time, I was shaken up and refused to cycle. I went back to school with a huge graze across my face, a bruised body and a fear of cycling.

I turned fifteen desperate for a Saturday job. My friend had just started a paper round but needed someone to cover, £15 a week sounded very good! I was still worried about cycling, but having decided I was now an adult, I swallowed my fear and proceeded cautiously.

This soon turned into a sense of independence and accomplishment. I became the weekend girl – my basket so heavy it made a dent in my tyre! Despite fog freezing my hair into icicles, rainy days and sweltering weather, I absolutely loved it.

I started cycling in Denmark again, making my reluctant family cycle 10km to historic ruins at least once every summer.

At university, I really missed my bike and had to take the occasional spinning class to make up for it. Now I have moved home I cycle around town and take bike rides with my boyfriend. I am still a little clumsy, and apparently slow, but I love that it keeps me fit, gives me fresh air and makes me happy.

However, having been a leisurely cyclist in my little town, and being spoilt by the Danish cycle paths, I have been a bit nervous about cycling in such a busy city as Cambridge. Luckily, I have now had some fantastic training from Nancy at Outspoken. I am now so much more confident on the road and even managed to get across the very big and busy junction by the Catholic Church.

Although cycling has always been part of my life, I had never really seen it as a serious form of transport until I was put in charge of the environmental initiative in my department when I was a Policy Assistant at the University of Hertfordshire. This experience broadened my horizons and I started to look at cycling as more than a hobby; instead, I started to see it as something everyone could do to be healthier, happier, and look after the planet.

I am so pleased to be recruited as Camcycle’s first intern, on a paid internship programme that has been designed to meet the standards set by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Having just left university, I was eager to get started, but many opportunities are unpaid, and this makes it difficult for people like me with mounting student loans. I am now coming to the end of my induction week and already I have learned so much.

I am so excited to get involved and understand how policy works at a local level, and find out what makes Camcycle so successful.

Emma Pritchard