A CLYDEBANK woman with serious health conditions has told how cycling helps her to cope as part of Bike Week 2021.

Sarah McGrory, 52, is originally from Wiltshire but moved to Scotland in 2018, first to Paisley and then to Clydebank.

Although her bike came with her as part of the move, caring for a family member left her little time to use it.

When she decided to start cycling again, her hybrid bike needed a bit of TLC after being unused for a while.

With money tight, Sarah was pleased to learn about the Scotland Cycle Repair Scheme from a neighbour who recently had his bike repaired at Centre 81.

The scheme is funded by the Scottish Government and administered by Cycling UK. It provides up to £50 of free servicing and repairs at more than 290 participating bike shops across Scotland.

The initiative is aimed at bringing old bikes back to life and encouraging as many people to cycle as possible.

After receiving a free service through the Scotland Cycle Repair Scheme, Sarah is cycling every day, losing weight and coping better with fibromyalgia and epilepsy.

Sarah was delighted to discover how cycling helps her energy levels and gives her an increased sense of wellbeing.

She said: “I wake up and feel like I could just stay in bed but I push myself to get up and go out on the bike. I feel fitter and have more energy. I find cycling is easier than walking with fibromyalgia.

“I’ve got more fit and gone down two dress sizes, which is great.

“It’s not just about the physical benefits. When I’m out on the bike for an hour I don’t have to think, I can switch off.

“You’re so focused on breathing and where you’re going. It also gets me away from the phone and computer, as I feel like I’m always looking at a screen.”

This increased sense of wellbeing helped Sarah to cope with the loss of a close family member in 2019. Her stress-related epilepsy is also under better control.

She added: “Cycling has helped me deal with the bereavement and feeling less stressed in general means that I haven’t had a fit in over two years.”

Bike Week, the annual celebration of all things bike-related, has been running since 1923.

This year’s event will run until June 5.

It comes as figures from Cycling Scotland show that 47 per cent more journeys were made by bike from March 2020 until March 2021 compared with the previous year - thought to be the result of a ‘bike boom’ caused by the coronavirus pandemic.