Why cycling is more than a hobby – it protects my family’s health

Content creator Chanel Harris opens up about charity Little Bleeders and training for her first Ironman

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Cycling is more than a hobby for Chanel, in fact it’s a lifestyle. “Fitness to our family is what we live and breathe,” she tells us matter-of-factly after arriving in the seven-seater SKODA KODIAQ.

And Chanel means it. Balancing raising your child with a career and charity work is no mean feat. Yet, when you’re as humbly determined as she is, the most monumental tasks seem achievable. “I don’t want fear of failure to be something that holds me back,” she says.

For many, adding regular cycling to this mix would seem like a mile too far. But for Chanel and her family, it’s become a necessity.

Chanel’s partner, Alex Dowsett, is the only professional cyclist who has haemophilia. For those with this blood condition, especially children, staying active is crucial – but not every family is in a financial position to do extra activities to help.

In 2016, Alex set up the charity Little Bleeders to raise awareness and really make a difference. Chanel has become heavily involved in its work, motivated by their young daughter’s own diagnosis.

Practising what they preach, cycling has become a health-critical hobby for their family: “For haemophilia, it’s really important physically to be maintaining that lifestyle,” Chanel explains. “We know for the condition it’s one of the best things that we can be doing.”

Skoda - Chanel

Photo: Rupert Fowler

And with encouragement from her friends and family, Chanel is on track to smash her first Ironman. For someone who was still cycling up until she was 32 weeks pregnant, this will surely be a ride in the park.

Spending time outdoors – in London, Europe or her native New Zealand – Chanel enjoys the “unbridled joy” of being on the bike. And having the right car is paramount. The SKODA KODIAQ has a variety of driving modes to go off-road, into sporty hill climbs or just to sail along in eco mode. All to make life easier and fun.

Along with the generous interior, with space for all the family’s bikes, long haul road trips are a breeze thanks to playlists with Apple CarPlay and tech like adaptive cruise control and lane assist.

Balancing your love of cycling with family time doesn’t have to be tough, says Chanel. Just load up the bikes and pick the pace that’s right for you.

This article was brought to you in partnership with SKODA

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