A club has been given a ringing endorsement by its members after doubling its membership.
The Bike Belles Wear Moving project was launched to get more women cycling, with its first ride of the year attracting 20 riders for a six-mile journey along the Roker coast.
“The project caters for all ages and abilities, so it’s ideal for new or returning cyclists who want to build their confidence”Lucy Fenwick
The team set off from The Bike Dock, next to the National Glass Centre, stopping in Seaburn for refreshments before heading back to base.
The project is delivered by charity Sustrans on behalf of Sunderland Public Health and encourages women across Wearside to enjoy cycling as part of everyday journeys.
The group uses space at Go Smarter’s Bike Dock to provide practical help and support to tackle some of the barriers which can stop some from saddling up.
The group offers information and advice with a female focus, from hands-on activities such as basic cycle checks and maintenance, and family and women-only led cycle rides.
Sustrans active travel officer Lucy Fenwick said: “I’m extremely pleased to have such a great turnout for the ride, considering it’s the first in 2016.
“The Bike Belles project is proving to be really popular, with more and more women joining us for rides and other events.
“There’s obviously a strong demand for cycling activities tailored to suit women on Wearside.
“The project caters for all ages and abilities, so it’s ideal for new or returning cyclists who want to build their confidence.
“There’s a great atmosphere on rides, the group are very welcoming, friendly and chatty.
“Some of the women have even taken on volunteer roles and are now supporting others after training provided by Sustrans.”
The next Saturday Social Rides are on April 9, which is already full, but the same route will be run again on the following Tuesday, and May 7.
Anyone who would like to book a place or find out more, can visit Facebook.com/wearmoving or call Sustrans on 0191 261 6160.