They came, they rode and they conquered.
Seven British Cycling Breeze ‘champions’ from across the region and 12 of their invited riders took on the Selby to York leg of the Tour de Yorkshire last weekend and in spite of a strong head wind, hills to tackle and a few mechanical problems the girls did themselves proud completing the 108 miles between them in nine hours, with each leg taking approximately two hours.
The Pocklington Post asked the female cycling enthusiasts if they would consider pedalling the second stage of the race, and the group took up the challenge.
A Yorkshire flag proudly flapped in the strong winds on the lead bike with cars tooting in support and was passed over to each Breeze champion with a handshake. Tracey Smith and Rachel Goldthorpe set the relay off in front of the beautiful Selby Abbey and sprinted the flat section from Selby Abbey to Market Weighton with six other riders in tow. Not deterred by a road closure due to an accident, the girls arrived bang on time and under the watchful eye of Giant Bradley in Market Weighton. They passed the flag on to Val French and Helen Hunt who led the group of eight through Sancton, North Newbald climbing up to the mast at High Hunsley before dropping into Walkington, and on into Beverley. Shoppers looked on as the group sped through North Bar, Molescroft and on to Bainton to the welcoming Wolds Village café. Here Driffield’s ‘Four Seasons Champions’ Julie Turner and Emma Barnes itching to be up and away took over and still with some Selby girls in tow sped on towards Malton through Wetwang and over the Wolds tops crossing over the border into North Yorkshire enjoying beautiful scenery before dropping down into Norton on the outskirts of Malton.
York Champion Ruth Raven and an additional five riders who had ridden in from York were ready and waiting and after the handshake and passing of the flag, led the group up the steep hill out of Malton and on towards Buttercrambe where they unexpectedly met the local hunt and had to weave their way through horses, hounds and followers all adding to the days events.
Sniffing victory it was a sprint finish through Stamford Bridge and on into York with an unofficial finish under the iconic Clifford’s Tower where the welcome party awaited to receive the flag back and signify a magnificent 108 miles completed.
Breeze area co-ordinator for East and North Yorkshire, Val French, of Barmby Moor, said: “This was a great feat I am so proud of all the champions and riders and special mention must be made of the three Selby girls who completed the whole leg and still looked fresh. Our aim is to not only highlight The Tour de Yorkshire coming to the area but to encourage more women to get back on their bikes and take up this fabulous activity.
“Breeze is a magnificent initiative that has seen well over 70,000 more women get back on their bikes since it started.”
To find a ride near you go to www.breezebikerides.com, tap in your postcode and sign up for one of the many rides. They are free and led by the champions.