Julia Burns on her bike. Image: Julia Burns
Julia Burns on her bike. Image: Julia Burns

Grandmother takes up cycling again after 64 years as bike lanes introduced across Cardiff

‘I rode through the city centre because of the cycle lane – there’s no way I would do that otherwise,’ she said.

A 73-YEAR-OLD grandmother took up cycling again for the first time since she was seven years old after more cycle lanes were introduced across Cardiff.

“The other day, for the first time in my life, I rode through the city centre because of the cycle lane – there’s no way I would do that otherwise. I couldn’t believe it,” she said. 

Julia Burns re-learned to cycle with the help of Pedal Power, an inclusive cycling charity.

A senior cycling officer at the charity said that since the cycle lanes were introduced, it has seen a boost in the number of enquiries it receives from adult learners. 

Hilary May said that she has been teaching several people who never learned to ride a bike, and started learning in order to commute to work. 

She said: “The only reason they want to commute by bike is they can see they can do it without mixing with cars.” 

Julia’s son-in-law commutes by bike to his workplace in the city centre. She said she would be terribly worried if he were to cycle on roads without dedicated cycle lanes. 

As a child, Julia learned to cycle in secret. Her mother didn’t want her to learn, so she went round the lanes in Cathays on her friend’s bike at seven years old. 

Julia Burns with her granddaughter. Image: Julia Burns

She never got back on a bike after that point, until two years ago at the age of 71. Now she’s bought her own bike, which she uses regularly and even brings it on holiday when she and her husband travel in their campervan. 

“It’s the thrill of cycling down a hill, you know, and having the wind whizzing past you,” she said. “It just makes you feel more alive.”

Julia said that she understands having the cycle lanes put in place has been disruptive, but she believes it’s important to get more people travelling by bike and public transport instead of cars. 

“There’s no way I would go on a normal road. I started too old, I don’t think I’ll ever be that confident. But these [cycle] lanes now, they will make a lot more things possible for me,” she said.

She praised Pedal Power for their work in getting people like her cycling with confidence again.

Hilary said that a lot of people are embarrassed that they can’t ride a bike, and can find the idea of learning as an adult quite daunting.

She wanted these people to know that they are not alone, and wished more people knew that Pedal Power existed.

The charity enables people of all ages and abilities to experience cycling.

  • Pedal Power runs confidence building sessions for Cardiff residents aged 50 and over every Wednesday at 12 noon. For more details call Hilary on 07895533848, email training@cardiffpedalpower.org.uk or visit their website.