Women in Cycling – Morag Prach

Introduce yourself (and your bikes…)

Morag PedalEdinburghHi I am Morag proud owner of four bikes. There is Claud the Plod (hybrid just about to be retired), Scottie (needing-a-facelift second hand Scott USA road bike), GT (cyclocross my winter roadie) and my new work horse Cubie (Cube Nature).

What is your connection to the world of cycling?

Paid and voluntary work in the bike recycling charity sector for about three years and now freelance bike mechanic and cycle trainer.

What got you into cycling? (or back into it?) 

I had worked in academic research for about 12 years until I had my children and flitted in and out of part-time University work. Then due to redundancy, to save money and get fit I dusted off my garaged hybrid and started cycling with the kids on the school run. With time on my hands and a new lease of life on a bike I wanted to do more with bikes and volunteered with a local bike recycling charity. This progressed to part-time work in promotion of cycling, trained as a bike mechanic, cycle leader, cycle trainer, started Belles on Bikes Cumbernauld, and most recently awarded Level 1 Coaching in Cycle with my club Arria Wheelers. I turned my passions for cycling and science into my own wee business as “The Cycling Scientist”.

What would you say was your most significant achievement (so far!)?

Oh my goodness I have a huge list. I have always surprised myself with what I have achieved and still don’t really believe it is me. In science I got a PhD and then diversified my skills with an HNC in business admin. For all of my achievements in cycling, from building Belles on Bikes Cumbernauld, becoming a bike mechanic and cycle trainer they have been significant in making me who I am today.

Morag TT going fastWhat’s your biggest frustration?

Poor roads and road users.

If you could wave a magic wand, what’s the one (cycling-related) thing you’d wish for?

To be able to travel anywhere in Scotland with ease on a bike. There are too many things to consider before going from A to B on a bike. I would love to be able to just take my bike out as easily as it is to drive my car.

What’s your typical day/week on cycling? And what are the rides you dream about?

I organise a weekly Sunday ride with Belles on Bikes Cumbernauld, social cycling on paths and quiet roads. I lead a FUNdamental road cycling session once a week with my local cycling club Arria Wheelers. My wee family of four are in training now for Pedal for Scotland in September so trying to fit in a couple of short rides with them too.

My dream is to pack my panniers and head off for a tour of Scotland.

One of the purposes of the Women’s Cycle Forum is to promote women who are in cycling and make them more visible – and particularly to see the end of the dreaded all-male panel. Would you be interested in speaking more on panels or at conferences and if so what about?

Not sure about this as I am all about the ordinary woman getting fit, healthy and having fun with that can do attitude. Talked a lot as a research scientist but not convinced I would have something to say.

Who are the women in cycling you’d like to hear from next and why?

Women like Suzanne Forup, Claire Connachan and Victoria Leiper are my inspiration.

I admire the sports cyclists but I am more excited to hear about the campaigners of the cycling world who want to make real differences to the every day.

Editor’s note: Morag’s wish is our command – there are interviews with Suzanne, Claire and Victoria linked above