Local business woman aims to help women to discover the joy of cycling

Bike yourself Fit invites women aged 40+ to join a gentle, weekly bike ride at Haldon Forest Park. The rides are on purpose-built tracks through the woods, and completely free from traffic.

Cycling is a great way to get for people to get moving, to burn calories and to improve their physical fitness. It also gets people outdoors into the fresh air, where there are fabulous views to nourish them. As the old maxim ‘just like riding a bike’ indicates it’s not something you forget. If you rode a bike as a child, you will probably pick it up again quickly.

The weekly rides are the brainchild of Cathy Debenham who set up Bike Guide Devon last year and is keen to encourage more women to give cycling a try.

It tends to be rather male-dominated,” she says. “The images you see in magazines and on TV can be a bit intimidating and make it look as though you have to be super-fit to take part, but it doesn’t need to be like that. It can be as gentle or as hard as you want!

Local business woman aims to help women to discover the joy of cycling in Exeter, Exploring Exeter

Cathy is a British Cycling accredited leader and fully qualified in outdoor first aid.

I got the idea for Bike yourself Fit last year when I took a friend, who hadn’t ridden a bike since she was at university, up to Haldon Hill. She hired a bike and we rode the two easiest trails. After a slightly wobbly start, her balance came back, and as I followed her down the blue run I was delighted to hear whoops of laughter.

“Her email to me afterwards said: ‘thank you for such a great time! I’m still feeling the after-effects in my bum, but my goodness, that was terrific fun.’ The seed of an idea was planted.

Whether it’s to lose weight, get fitter, meet new people or just for the joy of cycling Cathy hopes to encourage more women to give cycling a try. She says; Haldon is the perfect place to start and to build your confidence, as the trails are graded, the views are fabulous, and there is no traffic.”

Bike yourself Fit rides will run weekly on Tuesdays at 10am, starting on Tuesday 15 May 2018. There will be a maximum of eight people per ride.

Women who don’t have a bike can hire one at Forest Cycle Hire at Haldon. Alternatively, second-hand bikes are for sale at very reasonable prices from Ride On, a Social Enterprise based on the Quay in Exeter.

Cathy, who is based near Sidmouth, also offers guided mountain bike rides in East Devon and at Haldon Forest. More info here.


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