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Women’s cycling group pedal to success

Women have recently been transformed from couch to 50k in just ten weeks.

The beginners cycling programme started on 2 May and finished on Sunday 9 July in Malvern.

The initiative was set up by Malvern Hills District Council with the aim of helping people lead a more active lifestyle, improve fitness and well-being, and build confidence and stamina on a bike.

The grand finale saw the group cycle from Malvern to Worcester, through the villages of Upton, Welland and Hanley Swan, with a stop off at Croome for coffee and cake, before heading back to Malvern.

Riders received a completion certificate and badges for achieving their level two and three Bikeability.

Couch to 50k is a national initiative, with a training plan designed for anyone wanting to get fit and start cycling, even if they are currently inactive.

Clara Penn, cyclist from the group said: “I never expected to become a cyclist this year, but I have and I’m thrilled. I hadn’t rode a bike for seven years, and the first week I was really nervous just riding 100 yards down the hill to the venue - now just ten weeks later I've done 50km. I’ve also gained the confidence to tackle the busiest roads, and I’m now a lot fitter.

“I loved the camaraderie that developed in our group and we’re going to keep riding regularly and tackle some longer distances. I’d say to anyone thinking about doing it that it’s a really gentle and enjoyable way to get comfortable cycling.”

Cllr David Watkins, portfolio holder for healthier communities, Malvern Hills District Council, said: “This programme was a really effective way to help people get active, build confidence on the road and improve cycle skills, as well as exploring the beautiful Worcestershire countryside. It is a great achievement and the group should be really proud of themselves”.