By Relve Spread
This was my first cycling trip with BellaVelo or, indeed, any cycling club. For lesser mortals, the coordination of thirty women of varying ages, needs, and abilities to the New Forest would have resulted in sheer terror, panic, denial. For others, like our awesome trip leader, Lottie, it was deftly executed with German like precision.
by Esra Parr
Having only started riding my road bike again a year ago after about 30 years of pottering about on a hybrid with regular pedals, I started riding with BellaVelo last July. I enjoyed the regular rides and the social evenings, but it was with some trepidation that I booked on to their training camp to Mallorca. I was very much encouraged to do it, and was told that all abilities would be catered for and that I’d be ‘fine!’. Isn’t that what everyone says?...
A RIDE TO THE NEW FOREST WITH RELATIVE STRANGERS
Being a relatively new cyclist, I agreed to sign up for a challenge without thinking too much about it, and put my name down for Mallorca 167 in early autumn. As the realisation of what I had committed myself to settled in, the days were already getting shorter and the temperatures had significantly dropped. I knew it would be hard to find opportunities for long rides, and decided to try out a ladies group riding at Richmond Park that I had heard of before. Hence the beginning of my BellaVelo adventure…
By Clare Price
What is Adventure Road-Biking?
It’s a mind-set. You can be an adventure road-biker on any kind of road bike, although you may wish to exclude using your top of the range Pinarello (should you be lucky enough to own one)! It is about focusing on going somewhere you have never gone before, on road surfaces that challenge your bike handling skills; it’s about accepting a higher level of risk and uncertainty, and enjoying that aspect of it. The level of adventure is in your hands and can be anything from cycling across Asia to exploring your local canal tow-path, and the specifics of the bike you do it on are far less important than you might think...
By Tharina Cronjé (TC)
In March 2015 I saw a tweet about a new cycling shop for women that opened in Surbiton. They were hosting shop rides every two weeks.
My very good friend that I always cycled with on the road moved back to South Africa and I seriously lacked some riding partners with the same ability. Coming from a mountain biking background and not familiar with riding in big groups I stepped out of my comfort zone and joined BellaVelo for a ride. I met the lovely Belinda with her radio voice and many other ladies. After that initial ride I dragged my friend Liezl along.
I’ve met the most lovely and diverse group of ladies since I’ve moved to this country 13 years ago. The friendship, banter, encouragement and camaraderie is second to none and it is with pride that I tell others about our cycling community/cycling club. Every ride leaves me with a smile on my face and reminds me of how it all started.
By Lena Austen
I first heard about Breeze Rides about 7 years ago when I saw a small poster in a bike shop in Sussex. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but followed the link on the poster and booked my first ride. When I turned up at the designated car park I met my 2 leaders and several other women; some had ridden with groups before, others were local park riders, but the range of experience in the group was never a problem...
By Sabina Mangosi (fondly known to us as Beanie)
Four intrepid gals and one plucky fella set out to ride the infamous North Coast 500, that idyllic route around – funnily enough – the upper north-west coast of Scotland over six days in mid-September 2016. It was memorable for a number of reasons: the scenery (stunning), the weather (surprisingly sunny for the time of year), the roads (excellent), the car drivers (respectful), the traffic (virtually non-existent), the route (hilly), and the company (of course).
Our accommodation varied from a sumptuous B&B in Laide, to a quirky SYHA in Durness, to a downright back-to-the-70s ‘bunkhouse’ annex in Crask Inn. There was porridge aplenty and beautiful views at every turn. People were incredibly friendly and helpful and we loved our close encounters with the hairy cows.
Self-supported, taking turns behind the wheel of our trusted hired van, we had a trip of a lifetime and would definitely recommend the NC500 to anyone looking for a challenge laced with breathtaking views and no arse-y Surrey-style drivers to contend with!
Denise Quinlan has written an excellent, detailed and informative log of her Ride Across Britain, read all about it on her website here.
By Helen Sharp
So, it's done. My incredible journey from Land's End to John O'Groats is complete. 984 miles over three countries, 23 counties and with 50,401ft of climbing. For perspective that's over 13 times the Alpe d'Huez and twice the height of Everest. I’ve burnt 32,837 calories and hate to think how many I’ve taken on-board...