Borders Belles on Bikes’ Billie tribute

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Lawyer Brenda Mitchell this week led the Borders Belles on Bikes tribute to Billie Fleming by taking part in a national celebration of the woman who still holds the female world record for the greatest distance cycled in a single year.

The Billie Fleming Tribute Cycle Ride 2015 attempts to emulate Billie’s achievements of 1938, when she who rode 29,603.4 miles – 35 times the distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats – by staging a ride every day this year.

Brenda and the Border Belles, who were joined by Kathy Gilchrist of Scottish Cycling, cycled 26 miles from Peebles to Galashiels, recreating part of Billie’s tour of Scotland.

The Borders ride was one of a number planned around Scotland, culminating in a ‘Ride like Billie’ event on August 15 and 16.

Brenda set up Belles on Bikes in the Borders a year ago and regularly organises cycle rides, training and maintenance instruction specifically for women.

She said: “Billie’s aim was to get women cycling and she set out on a year’s cycle tour of Britain to demonstrate the joys of riding a bike. What could be better than that. This tribute ride is a wonderful legacy of a remarkable woman and will show that women of all ages love cycling, that we’re up for a challenge and we’re self-sufficient hardy souls, just as she was.”

London-born Billie, who died in May 2014 aged 100, developed a passion for cycling when she met a boy at a youth club who rode a bike.