Meet the Midlands woman who’s become the world’s first Cycling Directeur

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A woman who cycled back to health after major illness has been recognised by a leading sporting organisation for her efforts to get more people on their bikes

Staffordshire-based Michelle Vorel Adams has been named European Cycling Directeur by ACES Europe – the Brussels-based European Capitals and Cities of Sport Federation which promotes physical activity and healthy living across more than 500 destinations.

Michelle from Uttoxeter, who is the organisation’s UK and Ireland president, has made it her mission to encourage people of all abilities to cycle for fitness and mental health since she was struck down with deep vein thrombosis a year ago. It was her high level of fitness, and determination to stay in the saddle, that supported her speedy recovery.

Michelle out riding with her partner Phil Fortun

She went on to stage a 2020km cycling marathon during lockdown, raising £5000 for the Royal University Hospital in Stoke-on-Trent that treated her and is now planning RIDE2021UK – a countrywide fundraiser for the NHS – while launching a new ACES awards programme recognising top cycling destinations.

ACES Europe President and founder, Gian Francesco Lupattelli, said: “In one year Michelle has done more to promote cycling than anyone we know.

“She has shared her own very personal battle to inspire others to adopt our mission of sport and health for all. Not only that, hospitals across Great Britain are set to benefit from RIDE2021UK.

Michelle catches up with her consultant, Dr Zia Din

“Michelle is the perfect fit for the role of our new Cycling Directeur and we look forward to progressing the cycling awards programme.”

The concept of creating ACES’ top cycling cities, towns and communities will develop over the next few months.

Michelle, who runs Uttoxeter-based international sports and commerce firm Sphere Connect, said: “I am delighted to take on the official role of ‘Cycling Directeur’ to progress the five ACES manifesto goals specifically through cycling destinations and organisations across Europe and beyond, including Africa and India.

European Cycling Directeur Michelle Vorel-Adams

“We’re still in the planning stages but the aim is create cycling awards for destinations and organisations that stand out from the rest when it comes to promoting cycling for fitness and sustainability, getting commuters out of cars and onto bikes.

“Cycling is a hot topic in the UK as we tackle obesity and COVID-19. I will be doing everything I can to encourage cyclists and complete beginners to ride for physical and mental health.”

Michelle, who rides more than 100 miles a week through the leafy lanes of Staffordshire, is posting tips on social media covering topics such as buying the right bike and road safety.


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