Victoria Pendleton has revealed she's enjoying life in retirement, and hoping to increase female participation in cycling through sporting initiatives like the recent Cycletta event in Tatton Park, Knutsford.
The Olympic gold medallist retired from competition last year, and in an interview with The Guardian, admitted she's enjoying the little things in life after stepping out of the intense world of professional competitive cycling.
So is she happier now than before she called time on her career post-Olympics? "Definitely," Pendleton told The Guardian. "A few people have actually said to me, 'I've never heard you laugh and smile so much.' And I'm like, 'I know! I was under a lot of pressure!"
And Pendleton revealed she probably would have retired sooner had it not been for the opportunity to compete at a home Olympic Games in 2012.
"If it wasn't a home games, I'd have retired in Beijing. But who could resist the home Olympics?" continued Pendleton.
The Team GB cyclist won a gold and silver at London 2012, and was part of the hugely successful track and road cycling teams that thrilled the crowds around Surrey and the Velodrome.
But post-retirement, Pendleton revealed she enjoyed the relaxed rides around the countryside - the sort you can't afford to do if you're training for an Olympic Games.
"We [Pendleton & fellow track cyclist Ross Edgar] did about three hours and I really enjoyed it, just cruising around, " said Pendleton. "It was a nice day, the sun was out, we stopped for a coffee.
"I was thinking, 'I could turn around right now. I could go home. I could take a shortcut. I could have two pieces of cake. It doesn't matter.' It was a revelation, it really was, and it brought some enjoyment back to what I was doing that maybe I had lost through everything that I've had to cycle with over the past 10 years of my life.
"It was really liberating. It was more like riding my bike in my childhood."
And Pendleton is keen to encourage more woman to get involved with cycling through the Cycletta series of bike rides. The next all-women Cycletta ride is in Bedfordshire on June 30.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms