Hi, I’m Sarah and I’m not sure how I was talked into this (probably bribed with a cake – easily done) but here I am as April’s Belle. I’m not the most regular of the Belles but am proud to say I am a Pre Belle. Sarah White and I went out a few times just the two of us on our bikes following a conversation about how we would like to get out more on our bikes (mine was sitting gathering dust in the garage) but were more interested in nice scenic rides on quiet roads with a coffee and cake along the way. We weren’t interested in, and I’m still not, going as far as we could as fast as we could which is how I perceive most cycling clubs to be.
Birth of the Belles
It was from this that Bingley Belles was born although to be clear I claim no credit for this; that was all Sarah and others doing. I absolutely love the concept of the Belle’s and it has been amazing to watch how it has grown and grown and developed into the club it is today. I love to read the inspiring stories of the many Belle’s each month and although I don’t get out on rides as often as I would like due to a busy life and the distance I live from Bingley, when I am able to join I always feel very welcome and accepted which is the ethos of the Belles in action.
My early childhood years were spent on an estate which in those days had far less traffic so like many people my age I grew up riding a bike around but only ever socially or as a mode of transport. I vaguely remember doing some cycling proficiency at school. I then didn’t ride a bike for many many years. When I moved to Ilkley in my mid 40’s I was inspired by all the beautiful countryside we have around us and bought a bike on the spur of the moment in a sale but after an initial flurry hardly ever rode it and it sat in the garage gathering dust. However, thanks to the Belles it is now getting more use and I plan to continue to ride for many more years to come. I hope that at some point in my life I will be less busy and I will be able to get out and join more rides.
I’ll be honest I have sometimes signed up for rides and then felt like not going on the day for various reasons, most often tiredness, but I try to push through this and I can honestly say that once I am out on the ride I am always so glad I did join and always go back feeling boosted and more energised. I think it is a combination of being outside and the great company and camaraderie that characterises the Belles rides. I’m sure I am not alone in feeling this. I have signed up (again lured by food) for Le Petit Depart Sportive on June 4th so will look forward to seeing some of you there and will try my best to keep up.
Long may the Belles continue to encourage women into, or back into, cycling and be welcoming to women from all walks of life, all stages of life, all health abilities;emotional and physical, be affordable, and accessible even if you don’t own a bike. Most important of all, offer cake stops on all rides!
Sarah's Favourite Ride
This she hasn’t disclosed, but we’re hoping that it will be the 2023 Le Petit Depart