Sue Booth is a Cycling UK (formerly CTC) volunteer and also runs a ladies-only cycling club, Chester Fabulous Ladies. She set up this branch of the club to encourage more women to cycle. Particularly those who might not feel they have the necessary fitness or ability to join a regular cycling group.
What kind of bike do you ride?
I ride a touring bike. It looks a bit like what I call a racing bike and the rest of the world now calls a road bike, but it has mudguards and a rack, lower gearing and Reynolds 531 tubing. It is the one bike I own and it does me for everything – commuting, morning/ evening rides, day rides, off-road tracks. It is, of course, purple!
How far do you tend to cycle?
Anything from 3 miles to 130 – although I have not done over 100 in a long time! I am lucky when I can commute as it is about 3 miles; a morning ladies ride is usually 15-25 miles, and day rides are nice if they are 50-70 miles (depending on hills). I don’t pay any attention to the time when I am riding. I know my abilities and if I plan say 50 miles, I know it will be about 5-6 hours with a stop.
Do you prefer on-road or off-road cycling?
Is this a trick question? I say that because I like to use the tracks and byways to link between roads, and am quite happy exploring across fields and remote areas. At the same time though, I have recently completed the Transpennine Trail (long distance, and significantly off-road route, from Southport to Hornsea, near Hull). There were more disused railway lines than I have ever seen or could imagine we had in this country! Mountain biking does not appeal to me at all; though packing the bike on a car to drive to a mountain biking centre is just not for me!
What do you enjoy the most about cycling?
The freedom, the views, fresh air, seeing things you would miss in a car. You are more in-touch with people, like when walking. I love to take photos, I have a brilliant waterproof (essential!) and a hard-wearing camera which takes brill pics. I like flowers and canals. I love the open moors, deep sandstone cuttings (we have a lot in Cheshire), cows and animals. I think it is keeping me fit, but as I have cycled since I was 15 I can’t really measure a before and after. Oh, and downhills!
Do you prefer to cycle with other people, or alone?
The social aspect is lovely, but I’m just as happy on my own as in a group. I have made some excellent friends, and met some cool people. I lead ladies rides, and the atmosphere is actually very different to a mixed group, which surprised me!
What’s your involvement with a cycling club?
I run a cycling club! I co-ordinate the Chester Cycle (touring) club, which includes ladies rides and evening rides. There are a few leaders so I do not have to lead every ride. Chester CTC has been active since 1931, and I set up the ladies group in 2008. I write two blogs: Chester and Fabulous Ladies.
What type of lock do you use?
I have a springy plastic-coated wire lock, when in a group we sometimes share locks (i.e. you lock the front and I will do the back). At home it is in my brick garage, barricaded in! I park either in full view at the cafe, or in an out-of-sight location. But I know few (if any) locks are totally secure.
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