2023 Womens Group Update


2023 Group Update from Marina Friend

As we move through Autumn it is good to take look back at some of the highlights of what we’ve all been doing over the course of the year, and how we are continuing to grow and evolve the groups participation in the Club’s activities. In particular I have have focused on –

      • The Women’s Chip n Vale Tour
      • The Ways of the Roses Tour
      • The Derby Velodrome Experience
      • The Mallorca Tour
      • The Mid-Wales Tour

Obviously as a Group the highlight for us was the “Chip n Vale Tour” out to Chipping Norton and the Vale of Evesham. Done at a fairly leisurely pace and taking in some places of real interest this was a great follow-on to our succdessful 2022 trip.

This is link to the trip report – > https://coventryctc.org.uk/womens-tours

Also note as a date for your diaries that we are doing a Club Room presentation on the Chip and Vale Tour on the 7th November at 7.30 at the Friend’s Meeting House in Coventry. It would be wonderful to have lots of the Women’s Group members there to support Marina and Terry.

As we all get stronger and more confident in our ability to do these tours it has been interesting to see how many of you have had a go at more challenging trips.

One of them was the “Way of the Roses”, a 4-day moving-on tour from Morecambe to Scarborough in June 2023. Six out of ten participants were women, cycling 40 – 55 miles a day, with the ascent being over 3000 ft on two of the days. Here is a reflection on this tour from Brid:

On 9th June, a group of 10 Coventry CTC cyclists led by Peter Farrell set out from the iconic Eric Morecambe statue to complete the Way of the Roses in four days. Six of us were women and all but one of us had done the Coast to Coast ride from Whitehaven to Sunderland in 2022. We therefore knew each other well and could face the daunting prospect of crossing the Pennines without too much fear except that this time we were carrying our luggage! The weather was Mediterranean throughout and this added to the breathtaking splendour of the scenery in Lancashire and the Yorkshire Dales. However the strong Easterly wind was not favourable, particularly when heading out on Settle’s High Hill Lane on Day 1 and up Green How Hill on Day 2. The ride from Ripon to York Minster was a delight, being relatively flat. The final day was a pleasant surprise too, crossing the Yorkshire Wolds with some off roading into hilly Scarborough (changed from Bridlington for logistical reasons) where we celebrated the end of our 175 mile ride. It had been a great challenge and once again proved to be a bonding, fun and unforgettable experience.


In something completely different, during March 2023 six women (out of 14 participants in total) took part in the Derby Velodrome experience.

Some of us cycled from Coventry to Derby and then back, making a three day mini tour out of it. The first impression when we entered the velodrome and saw the slopes – terrifying! Thankfully, we had a very professional and encouraging coach who, firstly, taught us to cycle on a single fixed rear gear bikes that do not freewheel, and most importantly, to stop without brakes (which those bikes don’t have!). Then, step by step, we learned how to climb the banks, before having a real Go. It took some nerves and courage to ride on the 42° banking while trying to maintain at least 15mph speed to stay on it. Unforgettable and a very special experience.

Derby Velodrome


In April 2023, on the Mallorca Tour, there were 9 women in the 20 riders group. Here is the account from Shona:

Mallorca – fun in the sun with bike routes to suit different abilities, along with walking, sailing and swimming in the sea, and for a bit of balance, even learning a little tai chi!

A group cycling holiday offers so many opportunities to not just cycle but to learn from each other as we get to try new things. Phil is a tai chi expert and gave us a free lesson, and Mike, an RYA skipper, organised a sailing trip round the bay, and of course Mike T offered some local walks, too.

Everyone looks out for each other and we all met our individual challenges as well as relaxing with each other in the evening listening local bands at different venues. Something for everyone. I think the biggest achievement was meeting whatever iconic cycling challenges we thought we wanted. There was no pressure, but the routes were there if we wanted: Formentor, Sa Colabra and Puig Major. There were always less hilly gentler routes on offer. We would all meet at the end of the day to share our achievements.

Mallorca is a safe location to travel to and to travel around if you are on your own. I cycled there on my own there and it felt okay to do that. It also really helped me to have a group to go with when I wanted and who would look out for each other.

Mallorca, Ponta Polenca


Back in the UK it was really encouraging that nearly half out of the 50 participants of the 100km Challenge Ride on 10th September 2023 were women. Everyone had a choice to ride in one of the six groups, depending on their abilities….and they even organised a Women-Only group.

Sheila wrote:

100k memories… new roads even though it went through my local cycling area. The Refreshment stops were lovely village halls, run by local people, and who looked after us all very well by feeding and watering us with  lovely home made food.

Another highlight of the day was being with a group of like minded ladies, cycling, chatting and overall having a great day out.

Looking forward to next Challenge ride I can make.

Peaceful Country Lane on 100k Challenge Ride

Possibly, the most challenging event of the year was the Mid-Wales Tour in September 2023.

Marina says:

There were three women in our group of ten riders. We tackled the total ascents from 3300 to 4550 ft a day on 40 to 47mi rides, while facing some tricky weather conditions. The hardest and the highest point that we climbed was ~500ft to the Devil’s Staircase . The climb was about a mile long and had 25% gradient at some points. Only one of our riders managed to cycle all the way up, the rest of us had to walk and push our bikes (something that we did on numerous occasions, admittedly). Descending was thrilling and just as breathtaking (literally) as the ascent. Our worries about not being fit enough for such kind of a tour disappeared when, after all this climbing allied with alternately getting soaked in a rain, then cold, then dry (with a help of the wind) and soaked once again, we still managed to cook a delicious dinner of Spaghetti Bolognese for our group.

Terry says: it was an EPIC 8 day tour led by Bob. Of course some of us only completed 4 and a half days of it, but given the extreme weather conditions, we are all feeling reasonably proud of ourselves. The route took us through very remote and spectacular scenery, and was a great adventure to be part of. Stunning views ! …..and challenging weather !!

If you’d like to find out more about these tours and to consider taking part in any of the 2024 tours, please check the Club Tour Programme  –  https://coventryctc.org.uk/tours-programme


Please talk to us about our plans for 2024…

Already we are planning our 2024 Women’s 4-Day Tour to Leicestershire and Rutland for June

We will be organising our 2024 International Women’s Day celebrations

Marina will be organising another 100km event

And in the ever changing Club Tour Programme already there are two tours in the calendar – Mike Thomas  is reprising the Mallorca trip, and Martin Lee is going out to Northern France.