C: Would you like to talk a bit about yourself and what you do?
S: I am Sarah Kafala and I work at the University library and this is a new career for me- I used to work as a designer and publication manager but I had a break for having children.
I enjoy working at the University and it’s great because it’s quite easy to get into since I can cycle. Currently I am not because my bike has got a huge crack in it so…It is about 15 years old though so it has done a good service, it’s been on a lot of rides and on long distances; before I had the children I used to go cycling a lot. I am definitely going to get a new bike though- I am looking at the Cycle scheme the University runs which helps you buy a bike and I also thought about getting one from Re-Cycle.
C: So did you move here from somewhere else when you changed career?
S: We moved here from London and that is where I used to cycle everywhere. We came here with our three children and I have to say: at first I found it a bit scary to cycle around Colchester because the traffic goes so much faster than in London. People say cycling is dangerous in London- and it can be- but everything is going quite slowly, whereas here not so much. But we got used to that and now me and my kids cycle to school in the morning- we try to do it everyday and normally I would then cycle on here- to Uni. My husband also cycles to the train station to get into work on a Barclay bike, which works for London. I actually noticed they have got them (the bikes) at Colchester station now and I was happy to see it.
C: Are there any particular bike rides you went on?
S: We do a lot, we went to the St. Helena’s Hospice ride the other week- at the end of September. My son has been on the 25miles one and my daughter and me did the shorter one, just 7 miles. She is only six though, but she is keeping up with her brothers.
C: So how did you get into cycling or is it just something you’ve always done?
S: I learned to cycle as a child and we just played around in our street sort of thing. I think I got more interested in it when I moved to London and I got my first job when I was in my twenties. Some friends that I lived with had bikes and so we started doing charity rides at the weekends: went off and cycled to Oxford from London or to Brighton and all sorts of places. Every weekend in the summer we would go for a bike ride and then it was the quickest way to get around London. And I just kept doing it, it was convenient for all the obvious reasons.
C: Do you think Colchester is a cycle-friendly town?
S: Yeah I do, it has quite a good system of off-road routes and that is useful for those who don’t have the confidence to cycle on the road. I am fine with cycling on the road, but if I wanted to go on the off-road route I could do it quite easily because you have many options- although I think that most of the times it takes a little longer that way.
C: Have you signed the kids for any particular cycling activities or is it more of a family thing?
S: My children at school, the boys are in year six and they just did the Bikeability a couple of weeks ago and got their level 2, so they’re very proud! But there is all sorts of great things around Colchester, I mean we have been on a couple of Richard Monk’s family rides and we really enjoyed that. The boys also want to sign up for Colchester Rovers, it will be interesting to see how that goes.
C: Thank you so much for sharing with us your cycling story!