Helvelyn Summer 2016
Helvellyn Ride Summer 2016
The experience of riding mountain bikes with other women is something quite special. I love riding with the boys, I love riding in mixed groups, but there is something about riding with other women, that feels inspiring.
This is why, in 2016 I have organised a number of all girl rides in the Lakes. The most recent of which took us up Helvellyn. Despite it only being 13 miles long, it is a big day out. It is almost 3500 feet of elevation and involves carrying your bike for at least an hour to the summit of Dollywagon, but it's absolutely worth it! As it was such a huge day out this particular ride was best suited for experienced riders, but not all of the rides we do are this tough. Some are less technical and suited are to beginners as well as everyone in between. The aim of these rides is not only to have fun, but to give opportunities to women, whatever your ability, to go on a ride you might otherwise not ride. Meeting other women along the way and hopefully boosting your confidence to do all of the above again and again.
Despite my foreboding comments about the difficulty of the ride, we were eleven women strong on the day. Some came from Scotland, the rest from all over the north of England. A few ladies camped at Glenridding for the weekend and left the kids with their dads at base camp while we tackled the ride. Some ladies came on their own, some with friends, but we were all one happy group within a short space of time. Most of us had met via social media and it was great to finally put real life faces to names! Most of the group had never done the ride before, but it had always been on their wish list.
Starting out from Glenridding we took the road south for a mile before turning up the bridleway to Grisedale tarn. About 3/4 of the way up it was time to start carrying the bikes, some of us had taped some insulation tubing to our down tubes and I have to say it actually helped a lot! It made the hike a bike a lot comfier! (yes that is actually possible-ish!)
As soon as you lift your bike onto your back, your mind and body start to wonder what on earth you are doing but fairly soon, once you are the rhythm, it becomes second nature. We stopped at the climbers hut just below Grisedale Tarn to re fuel and chat before the non-stop ascent to the summit of Dollywagon. The views rewarded our efforts with the great weather giving us a stunning vista down past Coniston to the sea and up past Keswick, Ullswater and beyond.
We admired the view while we caught our breath but before long we were riding along the ridge to Nethermost Pike and on up to Helvellyn. After peering over the edge with the wind threatening to blow our gloves back down to Glenridding, we headed for our first great descent down from Lower Man. It is quite steep, loose, rocky and technical, but everyone reached the bottom with huge smiles. We stopped shortly afterwards to re-fuel again and to discuss motherhood before embarking on the the long technical descent down Sticks Pass. This makes the effort of the hike a bike totally worth it being over 2300ft of descent on rocky technical single track with some welcome surprises, as it winds back down to Glenridding. I'm pretty sure it's safe to say that every one was tired, happy and buzzing from a fabulous day.
But for me it wasn't just the great ride, it was the experience. It was to ride with 10 other strong and inspirational women from all walks of life and ages who came together through a shared love of riding and the mountains. It was that there had not been a moments silence since we'd set off five hours earlier and that laughter prevailed. I think it's safe to say that no one felt anxious about their riding skills in the group and hopefully everyone grew in confidence about their abilities and took home more than aching bodies and big smiles. I feel like we achieved something special that day.
If you are interested in joining us for the next ride please get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org and also look out for the Hopetec womens rides, which are a brilliant place to meet other women and make friends with like minded ladies! Check out their next ride at http://hopetechwomen.com/events