TV presenter Zoe Hardman started the series at Woburn, Bedfordshire

500 women turn out for first female-only Cycletta cycle ride of 2012

Last Sunday (May 13th) around 500 women took part in the first Cycletta of the year at Woburn Abbey.

With options of either a 40km or 60km bike ride on offer, TV presenter Zoe Hardman started the race before saddling up and joining the riders.

Backed by Sky Ride, British Cycling and its Breeze network, Cycletta was launched last year as a series of female-only rides, designed to encourage more women onto bicycles – addressing the vast imbalance in male and female cyclists.

This year the programme has been extended to more locations, including Wiltshire, Warwickshire, Cornwall, Brighton, Cheshire and the New Forest. The rides are run by Human Race (formerly Participate Sport) and many of the women were fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support, the main charity partner of Cycletta. An impressive £70,000 has been raised to date.

"Cycletta Bedfordshire was a fantastic day out," enthused Zoe Hardman. "I really enjoyed getting out on my bike in the beautiful British countryside and joining the hundreds of other ladies all cycling for Macmillan Cancer Support. It was awesome."

Human Race’s Jo Dytch added: “We are delighted with the success of Cycletta Bedfordshire, it was a great day to start the series of seven events in 2012. The sun shone all day, and a combination of a stunning route and the lovely host venue of Woburn Abbey ensured we had plenty of happy women crossing the finish line. We are looking forward to our next Cycletta in Wiltshire on 24th June.”

Free massages, mini manicures and helmet hair rescue on offer at the Pamper Zone in the Cycletta village, for all participants.

Kate Shawyer, mum of two from Amersham, who had never entered a cycling event before said: “It was an absolutely brilliant day. I never thought it would be so much fun. You felt totally safe on the route with masses of support from the organisers, the atmosphere with all the girls was amazing, everyone cheering each other on. The pamper zone at the end just topped it all off. I feel totally inspired to enter another Cycletta!”

Photography: Sam Wren / Purpix photography

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