Early on Saturday morning, several groups of women (and a few men) gathered with their bikes at a range of locations across the UK. Their intention was to cycle 100 miles.
Most of them had never cycled that far before.
Many of them were not sure that they could.
By the end of the day, all of them had.
I joined the Leeds group. It was coordinated by my wife, Laura, and her friend Amanda.
14 of us huddled outside the Town Hall in the drizzle at 8am.
— Laura Moss (@lauralikeswater) July 15, 2017
Some were on speedy-looking road bikes, dressed in lycra, with SPD shoes clipped onto their pedals. Others were on heavy sit-up-and-beg bikes, wearing shorts and t-shirt, and pedalling in plimsoles.
Some looked like young, toned, athletics sorts. Some did not.
When Laura asked how many people had cycled a hundred miles before, very few hands went up.
I do a lot of exercise and a fair bit of cycling. I was reasonably confident I would get round. But I couldn’t be sure about everyone.
“I haven’t been out on my bike for ages”, one of them told me.
“My only practice was 25 miles along the canal”, said another, as she dropped gears on the first hill.
Research has shown that women tend to underestimate their sporting abilities, while men do the opposite. Perhaps we would be alright.
— Tim Moss (@NextChallenge) July 16, 2017
It took us a little over 12 hours. There were cafe stops and supermarket shops. There was a lot of waiting for people at junctions (always tricky with large groups) and lots of working out which way to turn at those junctions (always tricky). There were flat tyres (three of them, all the same tyre).
But all 14 of us went the distance. No one was left behind, no one dropped out. The only time the group split up was when one of us had to press ahead to get home in time for her childcare duties that evening.
We were just one of seven groups undertaking the TAS 100 challenge on Saturday. Others set off from Edinburgh, Bristol, Aviemore, London, Kent and Wales.
— Emily Chappell (@emilychappell) July 15, 2017
I should say that two groups actually did 100km rather than 100 miles but, since both routes were completed off-road, I think they may have worked harder than we did anyway.
— Fiona CBucknill (@ficbucknill) July 16, 2017
And if I’m mentioning that, then I should also acknowledge the Bristol lot were having so much fun that they pressed on to the 200km mark.
— Lucy Greaves (@LucyGrreaves) July 15, 2017
The whole day was thanks to The Adventure Syndicate. They’re a group of female endurance cyclists who aim to get more people into cycling (particularly women and girls) and build their confidence on bikes. Saturday must surely have achieved those aims in spades.
I am proud to disclose that Laura is a director of The Adventure Syndicate (she came up with the TAS 100 idea) and I count several of their members as friends. It is a fantastic initiative and a refreshing change for ‘adventurers’ to set up an organisation aimed at helping others rather than just promoting their own endeavours.
One of their tag lines is: “You are capable of more than you think”
Saturday proved that we are.
— Isla Rowntree (@IslaRowntree) July 16, 2017
You can read more about The Adventure Syndicate and sign-up for their next event at www.theadventuresyndicate.com.
— lee craigie (@leecraigie_) July 15, 2017