This episode is our guide to your cycling journey. Host Louise Minchin speaks to cycling coach Michelle Sharland, Her Spirit Community Member and Yorkshire Lass sportive Founder Judith Worrall, World Endurance Athlete and cycling convert Mimi Anderson and Her Spirit Co-founder Mel Berry. In this episode we discuss:
This summer we have teamed up with Rutland Cycling to create Frightened to Fearless, a programme which enables you to clue yourself up on bike maintenance and learn how to ride with confidence. Supported by our partners British Triathlon we want to inspire more women to get on their bikes so why not take on our Fearless50 Ride Challenge on the 30th or 31st July. Ride 50k or 50 miles, you choose and sign up for the Fearless 50 virtual challenge.
Her Spirit is a global community of like-minded women all getting fitter, stronger and healthier together. We believe your mind, body and fuel are intrinsically linked and taking small achievable steps will lead to big changes.
Regardless of your ability, location or stage of life Her Spirit has something for everyone. We are an inclusive bunch of women who believe that being fit and healthy shouldn't be a chore but something you love to do. Our mantra is 'Together We've Got This' and together we support each other to live life to the full and achieve mind, body and fuel goals we never thought possible.
Her Spirit mission - INSPIRING EVERY WOMAN TO BECOME FITTER, STRONGER AND HEALTHIER for more information go to http://www.herspirit.co.uk
Hear from mum-of-two Sarah about how running changed her life in her fifties and how much the Her Spirit community means to her.
Find out more at herspirit.co.uk
Her Spirit Season 5 Episode 4 - Cycling
Hello, you are listening to the Her Spirit podcast. Welcome I'm Louise Minchin. Every month we sit down together and talk about the small changes we can all make to our lives that can lead to big results. If you are new to the podcast, very warm welcome to you. If you are one of our very loyal listeners, thank you so much for all of your support over the weeks and months. So Her Spirit is a community of women just like you and we come together to help and encourage each other to get more active and feel stronger, happier, and healthier. And what we try and do in every different podcast is break down the barriers. What is it that stops you doing whatever it is? Is it getting on your bike? Is it going out for a run? Is it going for a swim or perhaps I don't know, getting off the sofa?
Today we are talking about cycling. I'm really excited about this because I've done a lot of cycling over the last, what, three or four months actually. I wouldn't call myself a natural cyclist. I've come to cycling very, very late in my life. I did always cycle, but I never actually had a road bike until about six years ago. And if you know anything about me, I have been quite a few miles on my road bike, but nothing like one of our guests and also our coach that we've got on the podcast today. So I'll tell you who we've got and then we'll start the conversation. And by the way, everybody thank you very much for getting in touch either by the Her Spirit app or finding us on the website, herspirit.co.uk. We asked lots of different questions about what your first bike was, what it was called and I've been asking specifically, actually on my social media what are the barriers to getting on your bike and what do you need to know? So in no particular order, we have Mel Berry founder, of course of Her Spirit is here with us today to tell us what's going on in the community, how we can help you. We've got a community member, Judith Worrall who's also known as the Yorkshire Lass aren't you Judith?
Judith:I am just a tad <laugh>.
Louise Minchin: So you obviously come from Yorkshire. You're used to cycling up hills.
Judith: Yeah, I'm very much from Yorkshire. Yeah. I'm born and bred Yorkshire lass. So yes, definitely. Hills, sometimes I try and avoid them cause they are a bit severe in Yorkshire.
Louise Minchin: Yeah. And you organise the Yorkshire Lass Sportive, which we’ll come to a little bit later. We also have Michelle Sharland, who’s a Her Spirit cycling lead, not just coach. I think that's right. Isn't it Michelle?
Michelle:Yes, I think it is. All things cycling sort of seems to come my way, which of course I'm delighted about, love it.
Louise Minchin:It's so strange isn’t it because I feel like we are really good friends and we've actually only met in person, I think, kind of a couple of times, isn't it? But Michelle has also trained me as well. She does amazing live sessions on the app, which if you're new to cycling are really worth doing, I've done quite a lot of them. I know not enough Michelle, but I've done quite a lot. Haven't I?
Michelle:You have actually, Louise it's really nice and consistently, which is key to everything. <Laugh>
Louise Minchin:Oh, you say that, I'm not that good. And also on the podcast today I think she's our kind of challenge expert, I'm going to call her. She’s Mimi Anderson and she is one of the UK's most accomplished endurance runners. She turned to cycling after nearly running across America, I'm doing your story very quickly for you here, Mimi, which I know so well. And then she took up cycling and I've cycled with her across Argentina. How many kilometers did we do Mimi?
Mimi:Over a thousand. I think it was 1,200 kilometers. Wasn't it? It was a long way.
Louise Minchin:Yeah. We cycled that together. It was a very long way. Yeah,
Louise Minchin:We won’t talk too much about it. I'm saving it for my book. So I won't talk too much about it. And also recently we cycled London to Paris and I mention that not to intimidate any of you at all actually, because if you said to me maybe even two or three years ago ‘Oh one weekend, you'll just get on your bike and you'll cycle from Blackheath to under the Eiffel tower’ I’d have gone ‘You're absolutely b onkers there's no way I'm gonna do that.’Anyway, so Mel you've been asking in the community, haven't you, what are the main barriers that stop people cycling or worry them? And what did you find?
Mel:60% women talked about mechanical issues and they were frightened to get on their bike. So for us, what better to do than create a solution, which we are calling Frightened to Fearless. And what frightened to fearless does is a multitude of different things. It enables you to go to a Rutland cycling store to learn a little bit more about the mechanical information that you need to, to then be able to do guided rides and then give you that extra confidence. And then it gives you great opportunities to join Michelle, statically again, improve your fitness and generally get, a lot more confident and no longer will you be frightened. You'll be that fearless rider, l ike we both are on our bicycles hey?
Louise Minchin:<Laugh> and let's just think about the problem with mechanics, because that is a really common issue for people. So I want everybody's thoughts on that and I'll start, I think with you Mimi, you can change your puncture. Can you?
Mimi: I can, but I do completely understand where people are coming from because the one thing that really, coming from a running background, you put your trainers on, you put your kit on and off you go. You don't need to worry about anything else, but the bicycle? Oh my goodness. You've, gotta think about everything haven't you? And you go out, let's say you're doing 10 miles or whatever it might be, anything can happen during that time. And I have to say that is my main concern with anything that I do. So I have actually booked onto a course.
Louise Minchin: And you are doing some extraordinary cycle rides you've just done. Is it 800 miles? Is that right? How far it was?
Mimi: Kilometers. 500 miles.
Louise Minchin: Yeah. 800 kilometers. And I know you've got some really big bike rides over the next few months as well. So Michelle, right. Okay. So you are the expert here. What should we all do? I mean as I say in my head, I know how to do it. If YouTube was available where my bike happened to have a puncture, I might be able to do it, but you've got to have the right kit. You've got to have the knowledge, to have working, working 5g or 4g or whatever it is. Where do we start, Michelle?
Michelle:Well, I must be honest. The first thing I would suggest always is before you go for a bike ride, check your bike over and especially your tyres. So if there's any little cuts in your tyres, anything that looks a little bit dodgy don't ride, go and get yourself a new set of tyres. So I typically, I do quite a lot of riding as you probably all gathered, but I will change my tyres once a year, so that I know that my tyres don't puncture. So I have very, very few punctures considering the amount of mileage. However, do one day on a sunny afternoon, pour yourself a lovely drink of choice and go and practice, practice, practice. There are tyres that are easier to get off the rims. And there are tyres that are harder to get off the rim. So if, when you're buying new tyres, go to the bike shop and say, I want to be able to put them on and off myself. So go and go and have that discussion with a bike shop . But it's, it's all about practice, sit there with YouTube on your wifi, and practice.
Louise Minchin:Let's go for the real basics here because I mean, I didn't understand that there was the tyre underneath, there was an inner tube, I mean, do you see what I mean? It's just so, it seems so intimidating.
Michelle:Actually, Louise it's even just, how do I get the wheel off the bike?
Louise Minchin:Yeah, to that point. I mean, I know that because my bike's quite easy you can again, you can get a bike where it's quite easy to take your wheel off, but yeah. So, so go on Michelle.
Michelle:Well, I mean, some bikes have got sort of, a good old bolt that goes through, so you need a particular spanner. Others, you can just use an Allen key. Others is actually got a sort of a lever on the side that you don't need anything, just your hands. But if you've got a very strong partner or somebody who loves to fiddle with your bike and over tightens it, it's not that funny to undo it. So do try. I really, really encourage anyone I ride with or coach to, to actually take control of looking after their own bikes and being able to, to manage it themselves.
Louise Minchin:Yeah. I remember a sort of moment when I started going on longer rides and I really didn't have a clue and my husband just turned around, he said ‘I'm not gonna help you because I'm not gonna be there’. And that's absolutely right you are often very much on your own Judith, what's your approach to kind of the mechanicals?
Judith:I’m pretty much the same. I've done quite a few maintenance courses and things, but then it's the remembering how to do it once you're in that situation. And like you Michelle saying about going and getting a drink, I've done that and sat outside on a garden chair. And I'm thinking the chances of having a puncture when there's a garden chair there and a glass of gin at the side is very rare. So I have done the set. The thing that I do struggle with, like you say, is trying to get the tyre actually off the wheel as well. That's a problem that I sometimes have and then just trying to get it all back on, but I've practiced and practiced quite a few times. And I was, I was quite chuffed with myself cause we've just returned from Majorca and I to take my wheels off the bike there and put it all back together. So yeah, I was quite chuffed with myself. I actually managed to do that one as well. And it worked when I got back on it afterwards. <Laugh>
Louise Minchin:Well, well, I mean, these are all winning. This is winning at life, Mel. What about with the, Her Spirit? Are we trying to help? We've got various ways we can help people.
Mel:Yeah. So first of all Michelle in the cycling section in the community has got all the information that you need. So if you want to understand through Michelle's guidance, how to take your wheel off, how to repair a puncture, that's the first thing. But with our partners, Rutland cycling, we are doing workshops. So people like Mimi, you're going to obviously their local bike shop. You can come in and just to be able to give so much knowledge, to give you that opportunity to go. You don't have to sit out in the garden with my gin and hope for the, kind of the best when I'm out there on two wheels enjoying myself.
Louise Minchin: Okay. So let's go back to anything else, Mel? So that was the main issue that people were talking about. What sort of other thing were people concerned about?
Mel:Yeah, I mean, there's a, a lot in there around the safety on the roads. And I know a couple of questions that came through on social talked about that, 'how do I feel more confident on the road?’, but I know one of the areas that has come up time and time again is descending and it's, it's pretty scary. I know when I went to Lanzarotte earlier this year, I lost my kind of mojo and struggled. And I know Michelle, we had that conversation didn't we and a lot of it is about relaxing and that's again, a really important thing to talk about descending on a bike.
Louise Minchin: Let's take first things first. Mimi, cause we've cycled a lot of miles together. I'm much more risk averse than you when it comes to roads. And I think everybody has their different risk analysis. Don't they Mimi?
Mimi:Yeah, I think so. And you've gotta feel comfortable there was a point in Argentina when we were on quite a busy road and I think again, because of my running and because I have done quite a lot of running on roads that I just ignore the traffic. But I know that you felt very uncomfortable, so, and that's fine. And so we just stopped and we reconvened and then sort of got going again. But I think, one of the things on a bike I do is I am very lit up, so I will have a light on my helmet. I'll have a light on the back, I'll have one on the side of the bike. And I also have, which you now have the handlebar lights, which flash, which really can be seen for miles and miles by the vehicles. So anything just to make me feel slightly safer. I will use.
Louise Minchin:Yeah, that's really interesting because I did actually, following Mimi around and she has lights that go into the handle bars, Michelle. And actually I've been riding them around Wales and I reckon I get a foot extra because I've got those in from the cars. So Michelle, how do we approach, cars?
Michelle:My approach always when I'm riding with people who are nervous is just take up your space. You have as much right to be on the road as the motorist. And if you're in their way, they can see you. If you try and huddle the side of the road, they will force past you. And that is terrifying for everybody. So be aware of what's coming up, if there's road furniture, if there's something coming up, just slow down, let the cars pass. If there's somebody behind you who's grumpy or frustrated, pull over, let them go past, they're in front of you. They're gone. Don't worry about it. And I very much have a policy. I won't get into an argument with a motorist. I just feel very sorry for them that they're having a dreadful day and they're not on their bikes. <Laugh>,
Louise Minchin: That's quite a good way of putting it.
Michelle:I'm not gonna let them ruin my ride.
Louise Minchin:Yeah. What about you? Have you got any tips that you sort of give you a bit more confidence Judith?
Judith:The same as Michelle really, we once went to Vietnam and Cambodia on a one of these challenge rides and I can remember coming off the airport thinking, thank God we don't have to ride in this traffic. And then we got, I dunno that anybody's ridden there, but when you get to the roundabouts, it's like a free for all. And I think that's the best thing that someone has told me is to just stand your ground and make yourself tall basically when you riding your bike. And obviously just be aware of what is around you, but I'm never one to ride right into the edge of the road because I think then you've no give just in case anything happens.
Louise Minchin:And the practicalities of riding into the edge of the road, that's where you've got the drains or whatever and the sort of crud, isn't it?
Michelle:That's puncture territory really. So you stay away from that. Yeah. And especially avoid the drains and avoid potholes and things like that, give yourself time to move out. Be predictable. I always say to people I ride with, just be predictable.
Louise Minchin:Let's talk about downhill because that was something that on my social media, lots of people talk to me about it. Whizzing downhill too fast, falling and crashing, Allison getting over the fear of going downhill. I mean, it's such a common theme that downhill, isn't it. And Mimi, I know that you, you're, you're brilliant on the uphills, but the downhills have been just, challenging for you haven't they?
Mimi:It has, it's been a real challenge. And I think and especially, well I've got much better, but the first time I did an event, which was right across Britain, we had some quite serious downhill. I was permanently on the break. My poor bike must have been thinking, Mimi, should, should we just let me go now? And I was just saying, no, not a chance. Cause I thought, if I let go, I've completely lost control. And the bike would take over anyway, I'm much better now. And I feel more confident going down the hill. So I do go faster, but I still do have my hands on those breaks a little bit, but I tend to I don't have it on the whole time. It's that? What you got pulsing?
Mimi:Feathering. That's the word. Yes. Feathering. And I do that cause I gather that's how you're supposed to do it and it feels, yeah, so I'm much better, but no don't like them at all.
Michelle:Why don't you like them Mimi?
Mimi:I'm out of control. I think I'm probably quite a control freak. And so yeah. I just feel out to control, especially with lots of luggage on the back of your bike, it's sort of, I feel as if the whole bike's gonna tip over, of course it doesn't, but you know
Louise Minchin: Okay. So Michelle lack of control. I mean I used to be much more scared than I am now. So how, where do we start with this?
Michelle: I love a good downhill, so you definitely have come to the right place. <Laugh> I go down pretty quickly, but I always feel in control in the moment I don't feel in control, I feather my brakes and back it off a little bit. So Mimi I'm right there with you.
Louise Minchin: And, and just for those who don't know what feathering is, Michelle.
Michelle: Oh, so that is when you are on your bike, it's a very good idea to cover your brakes. So they take two fingers and you just keep your fingers over your brakes. Feathering is kind of gripping releasing, gripping, releasing as just very lightly so that your brakes don't grab your wheel and yeah, so that you could control your speed. You don't want to hang onto your brakes on the way down because you'll heat them up. They expand, you can melt discs, you can melt rims. I mean, that's all, it sounds all very exciting. I'm not saying that to scare anybody. I'm just saying feather, your brakes.
Louise Minchin: You’ve scared me.
Michelle: No, especially on sort of, if you're doing long Alpine downhills, not, not short ones, if you're going downhill for sort of 20 minutes, you don't wanna be hanging onto your brakes. So feather your brakes and that's how you can control your speed.
Louise Minchin: I mean, what's too fast? Is there, when do you know that you're going too fast?
Michelle: I think it's when I feel that I can't manage my bike through what's coming up ahead. So if there's a a hairpin bend, for example and I think, oh, I don't have the skill to get around that corner quickly. Or if a car was to come, would I be able to get out of the way or stop? So that's, those are sort of, for me, the gauges that I have in terms of too fast.
Louise Minchin: Okay. And front brake, back brake or both brakes?
Michelle: Well, more your back brake, but both brakes. Definitely never, ever, ever, only your front brake, you will go over the handlebars.
Louise Minchin: That's one thing I always do when I get on my bike every time. Cause I can't quite remember, which is the front brake and the back brake. So every time I get on my bike, do you do this Mimi? I spin my wheels.
Mimi: I do.
Louise Minchin: And do you? And then, I mean, we probably do remember, but I it's kind of like a check that I do and I check, which is my back brake. So I'm like, okay, this is the hand that I'm gonna use mostly on my brakes.
Michelle: Well, it's a very good thing to do anyway. Cause then you’re checking your brakes work before you get on your bike Louise. So I'm all for that.
Louise Minchin:And other things about going downhill. So not everybody who's listening to this podcast will have a road bike, but if you have a road bike and that's, with drop handle bars, do you go down the hill on the top, on the bottom of the handle bars? Where do you go, Michelle? What would you say?
Michelle:You are safest on the drops of your handlebar, but you need to be able to reach your brakes. And often I find that women who've got smaller hands really struggle with that because they can't reach their brakes. There are adjustments that can be made on most brake levers to bring them slightly closer to the handle bars. When you're descending, you want to lower your centre of gravity. So by having your hands lower your handlebar, by having weight through your feet, you are lowering your centre of gravity. You are so much more stable. You will feel more in control.
Louise Minchin: I've tried to persuade Mimi to do this and you don't like it. Do you putting your hands down low?
Mimi:No, I have been practicing. So I've been very good, but going downhill, not at the moment. I'm sure I'll get there, but again, I'm not very experienced. So, it's again, it's having faith, I think in your bike and yourself that you can do it.
Michelle:In fact, that's a very valid point actually. Sorry, I'm just jumping in here, but in terms of trust your bike, trust your tyres, trust your bike. And sometimes, if I am feeling out of control, I will go trust your bike, trust your tyres, everything's fine. You're good. So yeah, that's a big point.
Louise Minchin:Interesting, Judith?
Judith:I was just gonna ask what is the best way to corner? Cause that's something that always gets me when you've got like a tight bend and you come in, especially if you're doing like a, you've got a hairpin bend that you come into, which is the best way to corner?
Michelle:Well I can just kind of almost go back to point number one, when you're descending, you look far ahead of you. If you are looking at your front wheel, you are gonna go nowhere very quickly. So the further ahead you look the more control you have, the more balance you've got. And then when you come to those hairpins, you are bound to take a better line because your eye naturally wants to draw a straight line from where you are to where you're going. So if you're going through a hair pin, you will enter it as wide as you can. Don't go over the white line, but you enter it as wide as you can. And then inside pedal up, push your weight through the other pedal that's straight down and look through your corner and you brake before you get to your corner and then release as you go through the corner, accelerate out of it.
Louise Minchin:Yeah, an inside pedal up?
Michelle:And if that's too complicated, you enter wide inside, pedal up, always because if you are going around a hairpin, the pedal, that is your pedal that is on the inside of the corner can easily like scrape the ground and then you will, you're likely to fall off and that's not much fun.
Louise Minchin:Exactly. I wanna talk about cleats and let's have a whole discussion about cleats. So cleats are basically at the bottom of your, I know, Mimi’s eyes, brilliant. The bottom of your shoe and they basically clip into the pedals and they are the bane of every cyclist’s life when they first start cycling. I mean, I'm looking around the five women here all of us have fallen off because of our cleats? All of us, so that is just par for the course. Okay. First of all, I guess the question is, are they worth having Mimi? You're not a, you weren't a massive fan of starting with cleats. Were you?
Mimi:Well, no. Cause I picked up my first bike and I thought, well, everybody has clip in, so that's what I got. And I got home and I practiced and I practiced and I fell off five or six times, I thought, right, that's it. And I was like a child. I stamped my foot and I put the bike back on the back of the car <laugh> and I took it to the bike shop and I went, I want flat pedals so I can wear my trainers. So that's what I did for the next six months. And then I thought Mimi, we’ll try again. And actually it, it was, it was fine. And I now love them, but yeah, I certainly didn't like them before. It was remembering to take your foot out as you are coming up to a junction. So I just got into the habit of always doing things like that so that it then became natural. When you come to traffic lights or you come to anything, I take my left foot out. Everybody's different. And it goes onto the ground. And then I think, OK, now I'm not gonna fall off.
Louise Minchin:Judith did you fall off?
Judith:Yeah I did. I joined a club and I went on a club ride and I did when I'm flat pedals. And then I thought, well, everybody's got cleats, I'm gonna try these cleats. And I climbed a hill and I got to the top so I unclipped on the right hand side and forgot about my left foot and took somebody out to the side of me.
Louise Minchin:So embarrassing.
And I've fallen off twice and they've both been stationary. It's never been when I've been on my bike. It's been stationary.
Just a reminder. And I'm gonna come to our expert, Michelle in a moment for the actual way that you should. I mean, I know she's done this too, but how you don't fall off your bike with your cleats and are they worth having. You are listening to Her Spirit podcast, do join in. You can go on the app where you can find Michelle who gives live cycling classes. We’ll tell you that about that a little bit later in the podcast, or you can find us at herspirit.co.uk chat on the Facebook as well. Cause that's a really good way to chat and meet people and talk about, the issues because if you've had an issue on your bike, believe you, me, somebody else, probably most other people have had it as well. So Michelle go cleats, are they worth having?
It depends what kind of riding you're doing and they are not for everybody. But I would definitely say if you're doing endurance riding, if you like going uphill, that's actually when it is. But I mean, generally speaking, yes, I would suggest if you, if you want to cycle regularly, I suggest going through a couple of tumbles to get it right.
We've all done it and it's when you, you sort of, I think it's almost more dangerous when you're slightly confident and then you forget, have you got any top tips for people, Michelle?
I think just practice. So do hang onto the fence in your garden, clip and unclip, work out how the mechanism works. I always think if you kind of really go in with your toe first, you clip in nice and quickly, and then you kick that heel out sort of away from your bike and that unclips it just in case anyone didn't know how they worked <laugh>
Yes. Good. Yeah. Good point.
And be mindful that you are attached to your bike. And I mean I fall with my cleats quite more frequently when I'm mountain biking than road riding, but it does happen, and I've been riding with cleats for a very long time. So kind of accept that you will have a tumble every now and again. They’re usually slow motion. <Laugh> they're not usually when you're going.
Yeah, they are, they are slow motion. You just gotta go with it, haven't you.
But I think to be very mindful that when you are in traffic, when you are approaching a junction, when you are in a place that you're feeling a little bit unsure about, what's gonna happen next, just unclip your foot, you can rest it on top of the pedal and you can still pedal even not being clipped in. So you can do that. I mean, I wouldn't suggest being unclipped for long, long periods, but definitely around junctions and around traffic. Unclip is absolutely vital.
And one thing that so Mel with regard, let's just talk a little, I mentioned Michelle and the live cycling classes that we have on the app. Just tell us what else we've got on offer from the community.
One of the things that I love and I know Mimi, you love as well is Lexi's wonderful yoga. So on a Monday morning yoga,
I do yes. In my pyjamas.
I didn't know that Mimi,
Every Monday morning, Mimi's there in a pyjamas with a dog kind of rolling on the floor. So there's the yoga from a strength point of view, again, I know Michelle, you're a huge advocate of it. And I know it's something that for me is really important. So there's kind of that. And then the in person offer. So we are growing our coaching team and developing kind of workshops that give women that knowledge because context only 11.5% of women in this country cycle regularly. And unfortunately every time that statistic is counted, it's seeing a decline. So we've seen a 2% decline in all of those women that took up cycling during COVID. So these podcasts help, to give that confidence on that side. So come and join us in person, or just go and join Michelle on a static bike and build up your confidence by riding together in a virtual world.
Yeah. And also the other thing, cause I went from being a sort of commuter cyclist. So I used to cycle on my commute, which was all of, I think it was like five miles, there's every single level of cycling and it's so enjoyable whether it's, I dunno, taking your child to nursery like I used to on the back of the bike, which seems quite brave actually in some ways. Thing is Michelle, you can do this at any level can't you?
Oh, absolutely. And I think that some people, especially women sort of get very fearful of the competition element of it and oh, they're going to, hold people up and they're going to be last up the hill or I was chatting to someone I was coaching in fact was this morning. And she said, what she's absolutely loved about riding with me is that we just have so much fun and it's actually rekindled that inner child in her. And I was thinking, oh gosh, that's so good cause that for me, I've probably have never lost that inner child. But that actually made so much sense to me. And I thought that's a reason a lot of people kind of give up is cause they, they, they don't give themselves permission to have fun on their bikes. Just go out for a bike ride. It doesn't matter how far, how fast or just have fun, have fun.
Do you know what? I think you're making a really brilliant point because that is the thing that I love about cycling. I mean, I love the food stops as Mimi will know, but Mimi, we know we have had, and I know our adventures are not for the faint hearted and all the rest of it, but we've had incredible times haven't we on our bikes.
Absolutely. And we have laughed and we have giggled and you get to the top of that hill and you have that wow moment, we've had all of that. We've chatted the whole time, eaten an awful lot, but it has to be fun. There are moments when you have to be quite serious, obviously, if you are wanting to win something or do whatever, then that's slightly different. But to me, rather like my running cycling is about, so the fun the friendships, the chatting, it's all of that. And it's not about going out and doing, I mean, I love it when we just, slow right down and go along at a nice leisurely pace. But yeah, lots of chatting.
Jude, just explain for us, we've not been on the Yorkshire lass Sportive what it is, cause it's a bike ride, isn’t it?
It is. Yeah. It's so it's a charity bike ride. So it is a Sportive which is an event of mass participation. So we had our first one in 2016 and we sort of got 50 entries and were like, oh my God, this is amazing. And then suddenly it was up to 300 and then every year since we've done, it'll be our six one this year and we've had 600 ladies that have joined up every year now. And we've had some that have done every single one. And I just think it's brilliant that women can come and feel so supported. And we have like what we call ride angels as well. So we have ladies from our cycling club, the Yorkshire cogs and Roses that will be the ride angels and they will go out and they'll ride with people that may be on their own or they're just somebody there. So that at least, you've got somebody that can change a tyre and we've got mechanics on the course and everything. So we've taken all our experiences that we've had at other Sportive’s and put them all into this one. And hopefully it's all the good ones and not the bad ones. So yeah. So we look after, so we, we hope and well I'm sure that we must do it cause we have so many good results back from it. And so much good feedback that we are supporting women. I mean, we've had ladies that have only just started riding a bike and never, ever thought of taking part in a sportive and they've joined ours and done 30 miles and then they've done the 60 miler. So yes, it's just been absolutely brilliant. It's been really good. And I mean, and people have said, and I am gonna big myself up here, but people have said, it's the best Sportive that they've ever done.
And if you ever do one, you need to do the Yorkshire Lass Sportive so yeah, it makes me feel quite emotional. And then to then the big bonus of it, as well as we always also raise funds for charities. So we've raised £114,000 so far for different charities and three of them are ladies charities. So it's breast, cervical and ovarian cancer that always raise funds for, so it's a very much a feel good factor as well doing the Yorkshire Lass Sportive. And the feed stations are second to none. I have to say so <laugh> so you need to get on it Louise because the feed station
What have you got in them?
Oh, we have pork pies. We have cakes, we have fruit cake. We have crossaints, we have absolutely everything that you can think of. I'm a feeder. So I naturally make sure that everybody gets plenty at the feed stations.
Oh you make it sound so much fun. We've all get, we've already got to get going because I know Mimi's got more training to do. Everybody's got things to do, but let's just quickly round robin sort of last tips for people who are, worried about getting on their bike or inhibited by it, Michelle, what would your tip be?
I would just say start where you might feel safe and find a friend who is perhaps a bit more confident than you and just go out for a ride just and have a purpose for your ride. Just ride to the ice cream shop or ride down for a coffee, have a purpose for that ride. And then set yourself another goal.
I think when I started riding, it was very much I didn't feel confident taking my hands off the handlebars and going right and going left. So it was finding a route that was not particularly long, but I felt safe. So, quieter roads off the main roads. And until my confidence grew slightly and then I was able to be slightly more adventurous. And then I could go and have, go to the coffee shop or something like that. But yeah.
I would say the same. I would say find a nice group of people to ride with and somebody that's of your ability. So you're not trying to push yourself and go to their pace, be that slower or faster and just have it as a social thing. Cause we have members that are just getting so much more out of it than just the cycling as well. It's also good for you mentally as well. So I would say find a nice group of people to cycle with.
I would say choose a challenge and, that's why we created Frightened to Fearless. And that's why we're partnering with Jude in the Yorkshire lass and we want every woman over the weekend of the 30th and 31st of July to come and ride 50 kilometers or 50 miles together and, and join us for the fearless 50 challenge. I know for me, it definitely gives me that kind of focus and do it with all the friends that, that make you smile on that route as well.
So frightened to fearless where can just briefly, what is it and where can people find more information?
Frightened to fearless is a campaign that we launch with Rutland cycling and British triathlon because we wanna break down these barriers and we wanna turn the stats that we talked about into an into really positive ones. So everything that we've talked here on offer and all you need to do, just go to herspirit.co.uk and then just get click on the cycling side. And over the summer we're gonna have so much fun together. Jude I'm looking forward to that first stop because I can definitely vouch for the pork pies and all of the feed. And I'm looking forward to being fed by you in Yorkshire once again.
Yeah. Yeah. Very good point. I was going to ask you that and there still spaces are there, Jude?
Yes, there are. Yeah. And we've got lovely medals as well
Oh my gosh. You've had me at pork pies, croissants and medals. So listen, my top tip, I think would be and, and Mimi will attest to, this is again, find a friend that you, you can cycle with and know your strengths. I mean, Mimi is absolutely brilliant at being in charge of navigation. I am absolutely brilliant of having food on board, my bike. So between us, we are invincible aren't we Mimi?
We are, we make a very good team. Louise's got snacks, I'm in charge of navigations. Perfect.
Yeah and we never have an argument because there's only one person in charge of each of those things. So that's the way to do it. And, and cycling genuinely has given me more joy over the last few years than any I think really, cause I think it's the freedom, isn't it? It's the freedom. You can go a very long way. You can get yourself, to the pub, to Paris, whatever it is just under your own steam. And I just think it's absolutely wonderful. It's very empowering. Thank you so much to Mimi, Michelle, Judith and Mel for taking the time to talk to me today and talk of all about cycling and don't forget, there's lots more information you can find on the, Her Spirit app also have a conversation as well. Why don't you? On facebook.com/Her Spirit UK and we'll keep on posting updates particularly around that frightened to fearless as well, because that is what we would like you to be. I used to be frightened going downhill. I listened to someone like Michelle before and now I'm pretty fearless going downhill, but you can be that too. I'm join in our conversations. We'll post links and episode notes. Also add a link of where you can find a full transcription. My goodness, me of this episode too, in case you want to check back on any of the advice you might want to know, for example, do you remember how she told us to go around corners with our foot on the inside up? Lots of things like that. Really good tips. So thank you so much for listening. I am Louise Minchin the next episode of the Her Spirit podcast will arrive on Monday, this 4th of July. And we are planning an episode around menopause exercise because there have been so many conversations here in the UK, particularly over shortages of HRT. And we know that here on the podcast you want information. There are questions you have. So do send them into us until then though. Remember together we have got this. See you soon.