Shirley Brierley

Our February '24 Belle

Hostel Magic

I first got a bike when I was a child but didn’t really get into lots of cycling and bike trips until I was a young woman. My first trip was to Cornwall with two of my sisters cycling with panniers and staying in hostels – I think the magic began then. I did various trips with friends over the years but stopped when I went to work abroad. When I returned to Yorkshire I was juggling work with young children so didn’t have much spare time. When I decided to train for a bike ride for charity in 1998, I was lucky enough to be offered some free cycling training by a local coach . He taught me how to ride a long distance which needed stamina (high wheel revolutions and always in a gear that felt easy). This made all the difference and I enjoyed the 250 mile bike ride over 5 days, mainly as I went at my natural pace.

But an E-bike could be the answer

I loved the freedom and enjoyment from cycling especially when with other people. I have enjoyed various trips over the years including the Great Yorkshire Bike Ride, trips to Scotland and lots of local rides. In my fifties, I was cycling to work but always stopped in the winter months. Hence, I bought an Electric bike so I could do carry on cycling in the cold months. Sadly a couple of months later my knees were so bad with arthritis that I couldn’t flex my knee enough anymore to ride. Over three years I had two knee replacements and when I couldn’t ride a bike outside I took to an indoor exercise bike to keep fit – boring but necessary.

Moving on

I joined Bingley Belles in summer 2021 and began to explore routes north of Bradford towards Skipton with these very friendly and encouraging women. Many local rides and a couple of weekend trips to the dales later, I have made lots of new friends and cycled many enjoyable miles in all weathers. In 2022, I achieved a long term dream of cycling with panniers across all the islands in Outer Hebrides with a friend. Also, I have now done a couple of European cycling trips using trains and ferries. My E bike allows me flexibility to keep up with everyone and still keep fit. My favourite ride with Bingley Belles is from Five Rise Locks to Cliffe Castle in Keighley along the canal and then across golf course with cakes of course at the lovely café there.

Shirley Brierley's favourite ride

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