Ladies get on their bikes

A new mountain biking club for women has attracted more than 350 ladies in its first three months.

Sandy Boyd, of East Leeds, launched GirlBikeVan riders mountain bike (MTB) club for ladies in December 2016.

The sales rep, who is encouraging women to give the hobby a try, first became interested in mountain biking nine years ago after quitting smoking.

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“I quit smoking. I didn’t know anything about bikes,” said Sandy. “I bought one online for £400, I took it down The Lines (old railway track) in Garforth for two miles on the flat and thought it was fab.

“Now I ride all over England, Scotland and Wales and my bike is worth significantly more.”

GirlBikeVan riders MTB club for ladies was eventually born - bringing women from across the country together once a month to ride in the North of England.

Sandy, 43, said: “In the beginning when I was looking for my own riding clubs to join, nobody was interested because I was not fit enough. That stuck with me when creating GirlBikeVan riders monthly Go Easy rides which are all tailored to around 10 miles with varying terrain but never leaving anybody at the back. Great care is taken around the safety aspect of these rides as well. The amazing thing is seeing women join the rides who struggle with confidence and nerves.”

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Sandy hopes to introduce more challenging rides in the future. The group is an affiliate member of Cycling UK.

Julie Rand, Cycling UK’s member groups coordinator, said: “We want to see more women cycling more often, and it’s through the enthusiasm of people like Sandy and events like our Women’s Festival of Cycling that we’re making this happen.”