Selfie of smiling woman in bike helmet.


Our February Belle, Jane, says joining the Bingley Belles has been "one of the best things I've done in years".

My name is Jane Bridges.

I started cycling aged 48, almost three years ago when a friend invited me to a social event run by the Bingley Belles. After a kind offer to get my bike up and running again, I cycled from home in Cottingley to the Five Rise Locks to help at the Canal Festival. It wasn’t that far but I loved it and was proud of myself for doing it.

A few weeks later I completed my first Bingley Belles ride along the canal and managed eight miles.

I was tired but was swept along by the friendly bunch of women and support, chatting about everyday things as we cycled along. I’d never met any of them before, but I got such a warm welcome.

Joining this group has been one of the best things I’ve done in years.

I’ve reconnected with friends I lost touch with, made many new friends, and got fitter as a result.

In the time I’ve been a member I’ve gone bunk barning, led rides myself and even cycled 50 km in Majorca, something I’d never have thought I could do.

Now if I don’t get out on my bike once a week I miss it.

Bingley Belles has given me a new lease of life, a love of the outdoors I had lost along the way. I’ve cycled in the worst weather imaginable, fallen in a river, but have had the best fun, and have never laughed as much.

What I love about Bingley Belles is the fun, friendship, cake and cycling.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a short ride, a long ride, a flat ride or a hilly one, there’s something for everyone, and I totally applaud the ethos that no one gets left behind.

This year I’ve completed road training with Bingley Belles, and now feel confident cycling on the roads on my own.

I’m hoping to complete Ride the Night this year – a 50km cycle ride with thousands of other women to raise funds for three women’s cancer charities.

I can wholeheartedly recommend Bingley Belles as a great bunch of women, and I’ll be forever grateful to my friend for giving me that gentle nudge to get involved.

It’s not the distance we cycle or the hills we climb that matters, but the friendship and exercise along the way.

I’ve enjoyed so many rides, but my favourite ride is my “lockdown ride”. The route takes you up through Cottingley estate and through the farm at the top, a bit of mountain biking up a track out onto Lee Lane. After a bit of quiet road cycling cutting through the top of Wilsden, you take in the breathtaking view of the Cullingworth Viaduct. A lovely run down hill takes you into Wilsden, on past St Ives Estate, down the twines and back into Bingley to one of many cafes, for of course a cuppa and cake.

Ride – Cottingley – Wilsden – Harden – Bingley – Cottingley

Distance – 9 miles

Terrain – roads, lanes, farm track bridleway. Plenty of hills and a long descent.

Type of ride – a 3 cake ride

Jane's favourite ride

Group selfie of women cyclists by the canal.

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