I had never heard of Billie Fleming until a few weeks ago. In 1938 , she rode 29,603 miles in one year averaging 81 miles a day but in the summer she rode up to 196miles in a day!! She apparently never carried water and would call in to cafes to eat. She did it to encourage women to cycle for fitness and health. Sadly she died in 2014 at the age of 100. Her record has never been beaten and so a series of tribute rides have been organised to honour her achievement and memory.
Y, organised the ride for today and there were 11 of us women who turned out for the ride. I set off early and arrived at the meeting point a supermarket on the outskirts of Yarm accompanied by DH and DS1 who left before we set off. One of the local papers sent a photographer along so there was a photo call (ooh!) before we set off.
The route had been planned by Y, so we set off through the estate and crossed over near Kirklevington young offenders prison and then cycled along to Weary bank. To be honest I wasn’t looking forward to it, as last time I was there the surface was dreadful and I ended up walking it. Today, ta da, the surface had been repaired and I was able to ride all the way up. I think most of the others did too. I was on my heavy ( compared to the lightweight road bikes) Koga, so for me , it was even more of an accomplishment.
From the road junction , we turned left and headed along through Seamer, down into Tanton and then into Great Ayton. We split up in different groups for a café stop – well you have to as that is what Billie did. I had a hot chocolate and scone at Fletchers just outside the village. Then at noon , we cycled along to Easby and turned right up to Battersby and on towards Ingleby Greenhow where we descended into Kirkby and along to Potto and Faceby before crossing the A19 to go to Roots Café for lunch. Well , you have to don’t you.
After a lovely lunch, we set off again through East Rounton and on towards Appleton Wiske turning towards Worsall on the outskirts of the village. I was on familiar ground now and it was soon down to the junction with Forest Lane. When we got to Kirklevington village , most chose to ride down the main road but three of us with sturdy touring bikes took a bridle way across to the Weary Bank lane, emerging at the junction with Red Hall Lane.
We were soon back into Yarm and it was time to head off in our separate directions. The weather had been kind to us apart from a bit of a northerly wind but just as I was leaving Yarm the rain started. I headed off through Preston Park and took a couple of photos of the rain passing over.
By the time I got home, it as dry but I was pleased to have my waterproofs with me. Completed 55.7 miles – not as much as Billie but I am well the wrong side of 60.