Derby Arena - Member Spotlight
Wed 10 Oct 2018
Emma Watson first learnt to ride as a child. 4 years ago, she started to ride again - 35 years since she was last on a bike!
She would only ride on traffic free routes, so her journey started with one-to-one adult cycling lessons with Cycle Derby to help with her confidence with riding on roads. She started to take part in Breeze rides (women-only guided rides), and now goes out as a group 2 or 3 times a week with other cyclists she met on these rides. Emma met Kate Samways through Samways Cycles on Ashbourne Road and became a member of Samways Cycling Club. The shop and club is now sadly closed. On 30 July 2015 Emma first used Derby Arena Velodrome through a session set up by Kate Samways and so began her Derby Arena journey.
Derby Arena Experience
From attending her first session it was clear that riding the Velodrome track would be a challenge for Emma, but she knew it would be exciting and fun and she was determined it wouldn’t beat her. Emma has built up confidence over a long period of time by attending Kate Samways track events whenever she could but decided that she needed more regular track time so Emma started to attend the Derby Arena sessions. Emma started with the women-only novice sessions, and says that Derby Arena has excellent coached sessions - "They are knowledgeable, encouraging, enthusiastic and supportive as well as being sociable and funny".
Over the next 20 months Emma continued to build confidence, regularly attending the fortnightly women only sessions. There has been much laughter, as well as a few tears because Emma was involved in a track accident on the Velodrome on 3 April 2017, when she suffered a broken collar bone. Her comments regarding this accident were “If you ride the track you understand accidents can happen but they are rare and don’t usually involve a broken bone. I was unlucky”. After having an operation to fix her collar bone with a plate and six screws she was determined to get back on her track bike and returned to the track on 21 July 2017, nearly 4 months after the accident.
She was very nervous but with the help, encouragement and a lot of support from the coaches she was back riding the Velodrome again. Having struggled with confidence from the start of her journey, it has taken Emma a long time to get back to her pre-accident standard. Through her perseverance and being supported by excellent coaching, it has finally paid off and in February 2018 she gained her Level 3 Track Accreditation. She is now on her way to becoming an accredited rider at Derby Arena Velodrome.
Emma's experience in her own words:
Three years after stepping into the Arena I can look back at my journey and say I have had some ups and downs but I have thoroughly enjoyed it. My fitness has improved enormously. I have better stamina, strength and coordination.
My mental wellbeing has also improved giving me higher levels of confidence, focus and determination.
I have met some wonderful people along the way. Coaches, staff and riders and I have learnt lots of new skills.
There is an amazing sense of community centred on the Arena and using the Velodrome track is now an essential part of who I am and what I do.
This was something I never imagined I would be doing. I have achieved so much over these last three years and am very proud of where I am.