Cycle enthusiast and Swindon Sky Ride Leader Jennifer Purcell has welcomed a baby girl to her cycling brood, who fittingly arrived during Women’s Cycling Week, on Tuesday 22 July.
Heidi weighed in at a healthy 8lb 8oz and has already been soaking up all the cycle action, watching both the Tour de France and the Commonwealth Games events at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome from the comfort of their family home in Wroughton.
Jennifer said: “I haven’t been back on my bike yet since the birth, but I’m sure it won’t be long. We’re all absolutely thrilled to bits with our new arrival which coincided with the International Cycling Union Women’s Cycling Week. I’ve always liked the name Heidi and no doubt we’ll be heading for the hills and enjoying family bike rides with all the four of us soon.”
Jennifer, 34, hit the headlines in May when she was still carrying Heidi, making her baby Britain’s youngest ever Sky Ride participant. She said: “I carried on cycling, and led various Sky Rides, throughout June and they were really successful. We all went to Yorkshire to watch the Tour and I rode down to the course for that. My last mountain bike ride was a couple of laps of the Red Trail at MB Swindon’s Croft Trail just a week before the birth.
Her husband Kevin, 36, a business architect at Nationwide, has also been making the most of the warm weather and taking their two-year-old son, aptly named Ryder, out on his bike.
Jennifer added: “They’ve been on Sky Rides and also their own rides in the evenings and at the weekend. We’ve been so lucky with the weather – lots of people have been getting out on their bikes, both cycle veterans and those trying it for the very first time. I think it’s fantastic.”
There are still spaces on the Sky Rides, funded by Sport England, which vary in distance from 4 to 30 miles and continue until September. It’s free to enter the events, organised by Swindon Borough Council in partnership with British Cycling and Sky, and people can book online at www.goskyride.com/Swindon
Ryder pictured right and above with mum Jennifer.
Back seat babies on bikes
As part of the national Breeze Network cycling initiative, Jennifer also runs a local women’s cycling group called Back Seat Riders for beginners or mums who have baby seats or trailers for their little ones.
She said: “It’s a really relaxed and informal group and the routes, which vary from four to seven miles, always feature a tea shop. We have to wait until Heidi’s old enough to go in the trailer baby sling, which could be a few months, but weekly rides are still going ahead, so I would encourage all women to join in the fun. Cycling has brought so much pleasure to my life and I can’t wait to share it with my latest little bundle of joy.”
Cllr Keith Williams, Swindon Borough Council Cabinet Member for Corporate and Leisure Services, is also urging people to get involved.
He said: “Many congratulations to the Purcell family on their new arrival. I agree that the warm weather is proving the perfect opportunity for people to get out on their bikes in and around Swindon this summer. With the Tour de France and Commonwealth Games to spur everyone on, the Sky Rides are filling up fast and I encourage everyone to consider signing up for one if they haven’t already – they are completely free and there are distances for all abilities.”
To find out more and book on a Back Seat Rider ride, go online at www.goskyride.com