Dales women prove they are up to the cycle challenge

Ready to start the challenge

Each week a women-only cycle ride meets at Hassop Station on the Monsal Trail in the Derbyshire Dales, helping women to not only get active but to have fun and meet new friends.

The Derbyshire Dales Women's Cycle Group has now been meeting for more than two years, with more than 50 women registered and the group continuing to grow, with new women going along almost every week.

The ride on the traffic-free trail allows women to choose how far they want to cycle each week, and earlier this year some of the members decided to put themselves to the test and attempt to cycle a 28-mile circular route from Parsley Hay.

'Perfect ride'

Cycling on traffic-free trails

Ruth Taylor, Cycling Participation Co-ordinator at Derbyshire Dales District Council, said: "The usual route is a jaunt along the Monsal Trail with riders choosing how far they want to ride before heading back for a well-deserved coffee. The trail works brilliantly as the women can set themselves their own goals each week, whether that's making it to the Monsal Head viaduct, Millers Dale Station, or the full length of the trail through to Blackwell Halt (15 miles total).

"Early in 2015 the group decided they were up for a challenge, so the Midsummer Challenge Ride was conceived. The route we chose started at Parsley Hay and headed off down the High Peak Trail towards Middleton Top, before turning off and following quiet lanes to Carsington Water.

"After a stop for lunch the toughest section of the route kicked in with the climb back up to the Tissington Trail which we then followed back to Parsley Hay. The total distance was 28 miles and proved to be the perfect ride for the group, challenging without being too much, in fact I think everyone was keen to make it an annual event."

'Exhilarating experience'

Denise Hall, who took part in the Midsummer Challenge Ride, said it was an exhilarating experience.

She said: "One time I used to cycle everywhere as it was my only means of transport. Getting back on a bike again is really enjoyable and helps me to get back into fitness. The cycle trails are really safe with no worries about dangerous traffic. "

For more information about the women-only cycle ride group, and other led-rides in the Derbyshire Dales, visit www.derbyshiredales.gov.uk/cycling or contact Ruth Taylor on ruth.taylor@derbyshiredales.gov.uk or 01629 761382.