Clare Avory

Our October '23 Belle

Growing up I was not a confident or proficient cyclist. We lived in a small village bordered by a river and a busy bypass. Any quiet local road was a sunken lane along which local farmers drove at alarming speed, I figured climbing trees was a much safer hobby!

Not my thing!

I moved up to Yorkshire to go to university, but only cycled a few times, mainly borrowing my Dad’s bike on trips home so I could get to the nearest town/pub. Like many things I have since taken up in recent years, I put cycling in the ‘not my thing’ pile.

My twenties can be described as a bit of a black hole, but in my thirties I quit smoking and took up hiking. In my forties I took up rock climbing and learnt how to drive again. Last year I toyed with getting into cycling, but my excuses were that I didn’t have the confidence on the road, or anywhere to put a bike. An ex boyfriend of mine, who had become heavily involved in community cycling, also offered to coach me. I still didn’t make the leap, and then sadly towards the end of last year he passed away suddenly.

Big Birthday, Big Jump!

In January I turned 50, and decided the best way to remember my friend was to get on 2 wheels. I bought a lovely silver Giant Sedona from MCF Bikery with some birthday money, signed up to the Bingley Belles, rearranged the tool shed and started building some confidence and bike fitness.

The saying ‘it’s like riding a bike’ actually turned out to be true and I was really pleased how quickly it came back to me, whilst being simultaneously horrified at how hard cycling uphill is! I’ve only ever cycled on the flat and can hike uphill fairly fast.

Getting a puncture on the way home from a solo 30 mile ride made me realise I also needed kit and maintenance skills so I attended the excellent workshops run by Nicola.

I’ve done a mixture of rides with the Belles, ranging from Meet and Greets to a “2 cake went rogue” 20 mile off road adventure with Nicola and Liz. Everyone is so friendly, supportive and inspirational. I’ve also started commuting to work in Bradford a few days a week and the Cycle Superhighway really is super!

More hills more cake

Having had a bit of a trail taster on Grinton Moor and around Austwick, my next aim (once I have worked out how on earth to store a second bike) is to buy a mountain bike. I guess cycling is now my thing!

Clare Avory's favourite ride

Share this post