Kirsten Wilkie, daughter of Cycling Scotland’s first CEO forms Team Wilkie in his legacy as part of UCI Cycling World Championships

Tuesday 13 June 2023

Maggie’s Glasgow centre visitor, Kirsten Wilkie (42) of Westerton, Glasgow, is taking on a series of cycling, running, walking and challenges around Scotland for Maggie's.

Kirstie is taking on the epic challenge ahead of UCI Cycling World Championships and beyond – all in the name of her dad, Erl Wilkie, former creator and CEO of Cycling Scotland.

Sadly, for Kirsten and the rest of her family, Erl, who received an MBE for his services to cycling in 2002, passed away in February this year, following treatment for oesophageal cancer.

It was an illness that shocked everyone as the 78-year-old was known for his peak fitness and taking on mammoth 500 km cycles across Europe – with routes via Belgium, Italy and France, both solo and with his good friend, Donald.

As the CEO of Cycling Scotland, Erl promoted ‘active travel’ to one and all – encouraging people to get behind the ‘power of the bike’ and use it to travel to work, making it part of everyday life – rather than viewing fitness as something that had to be done at a gym.

A fitness and outdoor enthusiast just like her dad, Kirsten, recently helped Maggie’s, as charity partners to the UCI Cycling World Championships to launch their ‘23 million mile challenge’ at George Square in Glasgow with Olympian cyclist, Sir Chris Hoy.

Team Wilkie

Kirsten has now formed Team Wilkie with family and friends and is set to take on her own ‘active travel’ challenge ahead of the Championships in August and beyond to fundraise for Maggie’s, and some other cancer charities, in return for the support she and her family have received.

She said: 

"Erl was super fit; he was a civil engineer with Glasgow City Council. He had quite a stressful job, but he used exercise to manage his stress. He knew the value of exercise for positive thinking and its benefits in releasing happy endorphins."

Kirsten explains her dad’s fascination with fitness.

"At first, Erl was a runner and he was actually very good at it. He was very fast, running marathons in sub-3 hours in his forties, but then cycling became his thing and he became the creator of Cycling Scotland.

He was the man who went to the Scottish Executive with the idea of Cycling Scotland after years of promoting and helping people to get involved in ‘active travel’ with the ‘Fit for Life’ campaign that he dreamed up during his years in local authority, which he worked on jointly with Professor Henry Dargie, encouraging people to cycle to work as a more sustainable and healthy travel option.

In Erl’s name, I’ve formed Team Wilkie with my family and a few of my friends and we’re about to embark on a series of active travel challenges of our own in a bid to raise money for cancer charities.

This will include a series of cycling, running, walking and other active travel options challenges exploring many parts of Scotland that I haven’t become acquainted with yet and showcase the benefits and accessibility of a number of active travel options.

I actually started this with the Alloa half marathon in March – it’s a race my dad always ran and he’d really wanted to watch me run it this year. I really had to push myself to run it even though I couldn’t train much before it because my dad had become gravely ill. I still finished and raised £1,310 for Maggie’s.

Like my dad, I love a great mental and physical challenge and I’m in the process of planning a mammoth fundraising adventure that I will likely take about two years to complete. I’m really excited about it all.

We’re so proud of my dad and what he achieved in the world of cycling and I want to do this in his legacy to encourage more people to keep fit doing activity in the outdoors and to raise money for charities close to our hearts."

Cancer support

Kirsten adds: 

"Maggie’s Glasgow, in particular, did a lot of work with my dad helping him and our family to try to accept his illness, which was really difficult when he had lived such a healthy life. He had kept a peak physical fitness avoiding drinking and smoking throughout his life, so his illness came as a real shock.

Maggie’s are still supporting us now and we will always be grateful to them for how they have helped my mum and dad.

Maggie’s Glasgow Centre Head, Kerry Craig, said: We are delighted that Kirsten has formed Team Wilkie in her dad’s name and so grateful to hear that they will be raising funds for Maggie’s. Cancer is possibly the most difficult experience of a person’s life. These funds will help us to support many more people with cancer and their families to live their lives as fully as possible.

Good luck and a huge thank you to everyone who takes part in the Team Wilkie challenges with Kirsten.

Maggie's and UCI

You can support us too by taking part in our brand-new cycling challenge. Challenge yourself to cycle 250 or 500km whilst raising money to help support people with cancer.

Sign up to the Gran Fondo cycling challenge

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