A nurse who is passionate about cycling has organised a year long tribute ride to recognise the achievements of a record breaking woman cyclist.
Anne Hunt, who lives in Leverstock Green and cycles to work in Watford each day, became interested in cycling as a child, because of the freedom it gave her to get out and about.
Last year she read an article in Cycling Weekly about the indomitable spirit of Billie Fleming, who holds the female record for cycling the most miles in a single year.
Billie set her record in 1938, covering almost 30,000 miles over the year, and she held the record until she died aged 100 last year.
Mrs Hunt, 45, said: “I saw an article for her 100th birthday in Cycling Weekly, then her obituary a few weeks alter. I love people’s stories and I thought she was pretty amazing, and I was so inspired by her.”
Her admiration for the lady inspired Mrs Hunt to plan the Billie Fleming Tribute Ride. She started off with a Facebook page and now the tribute ride has its own website, www.tributetobillie.co.uk.
Women all around the country are taking part - and can still join in, for just a few miles, for just a day, or for longer and more often.
The idea is to encourage women to cycle and understand how it can keep them fit and healthy.
Participants will be following the route Billie undertook during her year long challenge.
Mrs Hunt said: “It’s not too late to join in, it is not something that is over planned, there is no limit to the number of people that can ride on any one day. People can go by themselves or with others, and all age groups can take part.”
The aim is to have a woman or women riding in the location where Billie rode on the actual day she rode there. She lived in Mill Hill in north London and many of her winter rides were day rides from her home to the towns and countries around the capital, including Hemel Hempstead, Hunton Bridge and Aylesbury.
At other times of the year she spent several weeks touring Scotland, Yorkshire, Kent and the south coast.
The event is not a fundraising exercise, as Mrs Hunt works full time and it would bring in a whole new layer of administration. The ride is being organised by volunteers purely as a tribute to a remarkable lady.
And on Sunday June 21, when the Womens’ Tour, the biggest women’s professional cyclist race in the country, passes through Hemel she hopes to get together as many of the Billie Fleming Tribute Ride cyclists as possible to entertain the crowds, especially as the date coincides with a ride Billie herself made through Hemel in 1938.