Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design director Jennifer Ross talks about her enthusiasm for endurance cycling.
How did you get into cycling?
Triathalon - swimming, cycling and running - used to be my thing but when my knees gave out and running had to stop, bicycling became my preferred mode of transport. I spent time as a bike courier in America and have done the 1,600 km London-to-Cannes ride for the international property show MIPIM five times. Only three or four out of the 100 riders are women. For this reason I helped start PedElle, now in its third year, to encourage women in planning and property to cycle. Each year around 35 of us ride 300 miles over three days to raise up to £30,000 for charity. Next year's event, from 14 to 16 June, will see us pedal from Bilbao to Madrid and we are keen for more women to take part, so visit www.pedelle.com
What does it involve?
This is serious cycling. It involves riding 150 to 200 miles a week: twice at the weekend and twice during the week. I have a personal trainer who works with several Olympic teams – a great person to have on your side – and I go to her once a week. I have also started yoga to keep supple but also as an alternative focus – you can cycle too much.
Why do you do it?
Cycling is my meditation; it's where I process the decisions I make in planning and think about the conversations I will have with planning officers. It keeps me calm and optimistic and helps clear my mind. Being on the road helps me think about the issues I have to deal with but is very therapeutic.
What’s the toughest thing about it?
Distance and speed, when you're on your bike it's hardcore exercise and very demanding work cycling up hills and down dales.
What’s the most rewarding thing about it?
Cycling is a fitness thing. I feel incredibly healthy and have enjoyed where the sport has taken me. I have cycled all over France, in Argentina, South Africa and Tanzania.
Are there any similarities between your day job and cycling?
Oh yes, you need enormous stamina and optimism to cycle seriously, and serious stamina and optimism to see a project through to planning permission.
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