Smiling cyclist with sunglasses on and a smiley face on glove.

Katie Hall

Katie is a Bingley Belles Ride Leader and Breeze Champion. She can - and does - spend hours talking about how brilliant e-bikes are.

I’ve always loved riding bikes.

For years I had a great scar from when I took my red apple bike – complete with basket – onto the BMX track. It came crashing down on me on a high corner with the pedal making a rather large gash on my thigh. I wasn’t deterred though.

Girl on bike in field.
Yes, I took this bike on the BMX track.

I was lucky enough to grow up a short ride away from Richmond Park, in London.

We’d cycle there as a family, cycle ’round it, through it, to the various cafes scattered around the place. It was brilliant.

Family on bikes in front of lake.
Cycling in a rara skirt. This isn't Richmond Park. It's Versailles.

My secondary school and friends were on the other side of the park from me. A perfect commute, bombing over tree roots in the mud on my mountain bike. My bike gave me freedom.

Then I forgot about cycling for a while – during college, working, university… A combination of moving around a lot, small car, and I think it just didn’t occur to me.

When I moved to Leeds in 2007 I bought a cheap hybrid from Halfords, which was crucial when I ended up without a car for a while. I largely used it for commuting up a dual carriageway, so it wasn’t a fun bike.

We moved to a different dual carriageway on the other side of Leeds and the bike stayed untouched for years. There was nowhere safe to ride it – sod’s law that they’d build the cycle superhighway at the end of our road just as we moved to Bradford. Even then, we were now near the towpath and I always had a niggling feeling that I wanted to have a cycle, but my bike wasn’t inspiring me.

Then, in 2017, our garage got broken into. The untouched unfun bike – along with a lot of other stuff – got nicked.

I used the Cycle to Work scheme to buy a really fun Bobbin bike, and then somehow came across the Let’s Ride website. Turns out, women put on social group rides for other women, who knew?!

I was immediately hooked.

Teal bike with basket on a towpath.
Cycling's more fun on a pretty bike. Fact.

It wasn’t long before I went on one of Judy‘s Breeze rides from Saltaire, and I quickly tried to arrange my shifts so I’d be able to join her Monday and Wednesday rides.

Judy also made me realise what a good idea an electric bike is when you live in West Yorkshire. The steep hill heading up from the towpath to my house is a killer and was putting me off getting behind the handlebars. The final straw was cycling back from a hard day working in Leeds into a headwind, in the pouring rain. I got as far as Bramley and burst into tears.

So, I got myself a beautiful folding e-bike from Volt, with a max range of 40 miles – surely I’d never need more than that?!

It served me well and I discovered the joys of speeding up hills across Yorkshire. The e-bike got me off the towpath and onto beautiful roads where it’s a surprise to see a car – don’t they know it’s a cyclist’s playground?

After a couple of years, the 40-mile range (which is more like 20 with these hills) had become a hindrance, and thanks again to Cyclescheme, I’ve now upgraded to a Liv e-bike that can do more than 100, and my parents have inherited the Volt. I use it to get to work, go shopping, visit friends, and of course, go out with the Bingley Belles.

I discovered the Belles during the pandemic, as Breeze rides stopped but I could see Judy getting out and about on rides with a knitted cake for some strange reason. Turns out the Belles are all about the cake!

After joining in April 2021, the meet and greet ride – in pouring rain – was great fun and I instantly felt the warmth of an amazing community. One that also puts on training, picnics and trips to Majorca!

I became a co-ride leader and trained as a British Cycling Breeze Champion and ride leader in September 2021.

Group of colourful cyclists.
Mini mountain-conquering Belles.

Katie Hall's favourite ride

Share this post