Porter Valley Tour de Force!

We had the joy of meeting the Porter Valley Tour de Force group - a group of wonderful women, united by their love of cycling!

Welcome to the Porter Valley Tour de Force cycling group!

We are a friendly women’s cycle club currently with 20 members, affiliated to Cycling UK. We set ourselves up in 2011, with invaluable help from Steve Marsden, the Sheffield CTC Cycle Champion and Pam Walton (who chatted to Bluebell in our podcast series), as a follow up from Cycle Confidence Training that Pedal Ready was providing in Endcliffe Park. Initially Porter Valley Bike 4 Fun, we changed our name following Le Grand Depart to Porter Valley Tour de Force, because we are! A lot of talking goes on, usually at the top of hills, and we can sort almost anything – hence Tour de Force!

We meet every Tuesday at 10:15am (for a 10:30 start) outside the cafe in Endcliffe Park. Several members come from Nether Edge. We usually ride up through the parks to Forge Dam, then decide which direction (and hills) we fancy that day. Sometimes it’s the Mayfield Valley, Redmires, Lodge Moor or Whirlow Farm direction. By 1pm to 1:30pm we’re back at the cafe for lunch, or home.

On the third Tuesday of each month we have a ‘day ride’ which may start elsewhere and has been planned by one of our members. A good lunch stop is essential on these! We have club meetings quarterly to plan day rides for the next months and the usual necessary discussions. One of us will host these.

Occasionally, we may decide we need some maintenance training. These were provided initially by Recycle, funded by CTC (now Cycling UK) and Pedal Ready and more recently by a member of the club.

We are a very friendly group of women, many us hadn’t cycled for many years before joining the club. We welcome new members, but due to current circumstances we are not cycling as a group – although members have individually (or in small groups) enjoyed the quieter roads.

The members of the group sum up what cycling means for them and how wonderful the group is:

Sue – “The amount of fun, camaraderie and exercise I gain from the group is unbelievable.”

Sneh – “Cycling has honestly changed my life! I was going through a tough time – I’d hurt my back, was depressed and unfit. Then I started cycling and it’s been amazing, it’s made me fitter and more sociable. I’m a different person because of it! Not many Asian people cycle and since cycling I’ve cycled with some Asian women who have now started cycling too, so that’s been great.”

Purveen – “I would honestly say that cycling has made me a better person – I’m more outgoing and just happier! I also agree that cycling isn’t that common amongst Asian communities– I think there is a lack of awareness. It’s great to think that some people might look at me and think, well if she can cycle, why can’t I?”

Liz – “I love knowing that every Tuesday morning I’m going to feel my heart pumping. We do an annual cycling trip to Beverly, where we stay over for 2 nights in a hostel and it’s fantastic. About 15 of us go and we have so much fun.”

Elizabeth – “I joined this group about 2 years too late – I finished my cycling course at Pedal Ready but wasn’t aware of any groups, so found my bike gathering dust in the garage. Then Kate told me about the group and I haven’t looked back since, I always feel happy when I’m on a bike.”

Jane – “I’ve cycled all my life and trained as an instructor which has definitely made me a better cyclist. I have much better road awareness and confidence – no more keeping to the kerb! I think what’s so special about this group is that we’ve all experienced dark times and can share and reveal those times with each other, in the knowledge that cycling has and is helping us with those times.”

Anne – “I’ve been cycling with the group for over 8 years now and I love it. Before I started cycling, I was in quite a dark place mentally and cycling has definitely brought me out of that place.”

Kate – “Cycling has enhanced our lives, without a doubt. It’s complete magic and provides me with instant happiness. We always wait at the top of hills – no one gets left behind, and whilst we wait at the top, we get to chat! It’s a terribly informal but very supportive little group.”

If you are interested in finding out more please contact Bev: bev.primhak@gmail.com