Interview with Alison Coates

Number of bikes?


What do you do for a living?

Work in IT but I’m not a techie!

How did you get into cycling and what made you join Penge CC?

My work put a team together for a 12 hour Cyclothon at Brands Hatch. Having not ridden a bike since I was a kid, I joined Penge CC to get some fitness before the event. The rest is history.

How long have you cycled with Penge CC?

I Joined in August 2015 but I didn’t really get into it until summer 2017.

Which group do you cycle with?

Long 2 or 3.

What do you like about riding with Penge CC?

I like that massive array of different people. With nearly 500 members you will always find someone you get on with, someone that makes you laugh, someone that is your speed, someone with the same goals, or someone just to have a beer and a chat with. We are not pretentious, and EVERYONE is welcome.

Why do you think Penge CC is a good club for women?

Having ridden in an obscene amount of sportives this year, one thing that is obvious at these events is that women are underrepresented. I have been at some events where the testosterone was overbearing and made it almost unwelcoming. You do not get that at Penge CC at all. It’s your love of cycling that brings us together, not your gender.

What is your proudest achievement in cycling?

Hands down The Maratona in the Dolomites, Italy. I NEVER EVER thought I would be able to do it. I have never been so nervous at the start line. When I made the cut off for the medium course (my goal) I genuinely cried with happiness. Doing it with a bunch of people from the club made it that much more special.

What was the most enjoyable thing you did on a bike this year?

I love doing a sportive – they mark the route, you get fed and you get a medal. But the most enjoyable thing has been all the training rides for the sportives with mates from the club. They do the hard miles with you and get you through the tough times. You can’t beat it. The Hell of the Ashdown sportive must have a mention somewhere. The start of a mental year of cycling. A bunch of ladies who had no idea they had it in them and worked together to get around. I keep my number on the wall as a reminder, mud splatter and all.

What advice would you give to someone getting into cycling?

Don’t try to keep up with anyone. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Do it your way, your speed, ride how you want to and enjoy it.

Which inspirational female sportsperson do you most admire and why?

Literally any woman who bosses it week in and week out – especially in the club. Riding up hills is hard but having your period at the same time is damn right horrific.

What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve done on a bike?

Talking so much that I rode into a kerb and flipped over the handle bars. And Land’s End to John O’Groats – my arse still hasn’t recovered.