FeaturedWomen's Cycling

pedElle 2017: 43 cyclists ride from Porto to Lisbon for children’s charity Coram


On the road, day 1: pedElle 2017 sets off from Porto

Day 1 of the Legal & General Real Assets pedElle began with beautiful blue skies over Porto. Forty-three women from the property industry gathered outside the hotel for the fifth edition of pedElle and rolled out through the narrow cobbled streets into the sunshine. The riders headed down to the river, out of the city and up into the Douro valley where the scenery was lush and verdant, with a wide river below, and vineyards and terraces on either side of the valley. The two rows of plum-coloured jerseys moved as one peloton through the countryside, like they’d been riding together for months rather than hours.

pedElle 2017

After a stop for coffee and a great selection of Portuguese cakes in a shady cafe garden, the next stage began with a long, winding and sweeping descent; the first of the ride and possibly the first ever for some riders, down through the valley and over a dam. Almost immediately, the main climb of the day was upon them. The surroundings and the views provided the perfect backdrop for the climb, with huge wide open vistas, occasionally interspersed with cobbled old towns – a very uncomfortable riding experience for any length of time.

Lunch, at Tendais, was in a cafe with views of more mountainous peaks, topped by wind farms. It was a chance to reflect on the morning’s cycling, to get treatment from the sports injury therapists if needed and, most importantly, to refuel.

pedElle 2017

The third stage was the longest and toughest of the day at 66km and 1,100m of climbing. The group climbed for another 10km and at the top, enjoyed a brief stop to take in the view before donning layers to tackle the long, winding descent.

The stage continued to roll through a variety of terrains and landscapes, from the mountainous to the rural, from small villages to pine forests, passing bemused locals as they went. Towards the end of the day, everyone regrouped for the final few kilometres into Viseu and arrived into the hotel tired but elated. It was one of the most challenging days of any Club Peloton ride to date, but everyone was in good spirits, buoyed by their achievements. After a warm down stretch, they were treated to drinks and a live pianist in the hotel’s beautiful lobby, before dinner and a well-earned rest in readiness for day 2.

On the road, day 2: pedElle pedals its way through Portugal

Day 2 of the Legal & General Real Assets pedElle 2017 begas, like Day 1, with clear blue sunny skies. But it was a chilly start as the group rolled out of the hotel after a big breakfast, and there were a few nerves at the scale of the challenge still to come despite the previous day’s achievements.

However, Portugal’s scenery did not let anyone down and the morning’s first stage was another stunner. The terrain became more rugged as the riders made their way south-west from Viseu, with vineyards giving way to olive groves. Winding roads over dams and reservoirs distracted anxious minds and helped settle nervous legs into a steady rhythm. The pace was faster and smoother and the previous day’s first-day jitters were all but forgotten as the riders concentrated once more on the task in hand.

pedElle 2017

The morning’s coffee stop was on a peaceful terrace overlooking a reservoir and it was with reluctance that everyone moved off to take their place on the road again. However, the next stage delivered yet more stunning scenery and as the peloton wound its way through a valley bottom dotted with white houses, the riders begin to practice through and off, rotating through the group smoothly and evenly. Through and off allows everyone a turn on the front but also assures a chance to recover on the way back, as well as allowing riders to mix and chat as they move through the group.

Cycling is hot and tiring work and as the temperature began to climb the morning’s combined stages of 106km began to take their toll. After winding its way through a forested gorge, the peloton arrived at Condeixa a Nova for lunch on the restaurant’s terrace in the blazing sunshine surrounded by orange trees.

pedElle 2017

After lunch the terrain changed again; limestone gave way to red sandstone and became more arid and dry. Practising through and off again, the group makes its way through flatter and more gently rolling hills, consisting of agricultural and industrial landscapes, covering another 41km with ease in the mid afternoon sun.

The final stage of the day was a short, sharp 30km, a welcome distance after 146km already spent in the saddle. After negotiating the busy, post-rush hour run into Leiria, the 43 cyclists were treated to a well-deserved al fresco dinner in a beautiful square overlooked by the castle in the old town. Two days and 328km done, the peloton was ready for an early night in preparation for the third and final day of pedElle 2017.

On the road, day 3: pedElle arrives in Lisbon


Day 3 of the Legal & General Real Assets pedElle 2017 began with breakfast eight floors up, overlooking Leiria’s hilltop castle in the early morning sunshine. Despite tired legs, many of the riders marvelled at their cycling achievements on pedElle so far: the longest distance they’d ever cycled, the most metres they’d ever climbed. Most were looking forward to the day ahead: having come further physically and emotionally than they ever thought possible, the end was now, almost unbelievably, in sight.

pedElle 2017

However, Portugal still wasn’t finished with the women of pedElle and the day was shaping up to be a hot one. The cyclists headed out of Leiria for a 30km run to the Parque Natural das Serras de Aire e Candeeiros where the climb of the stage awaited. It rolled onwards and upwards for 5km, every now and then throwing in a short, sharp gradient to test everyone’s legs. The views from the top made it all worthwhile though, with the national park, in all its arid beauty, laid out below the riders. From the top there was a sweeping descent to the morning coffee stop, where excellent coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice and pastel de nata were consumed with relish.

pedElle 2017

The second stage of the day was, by comparison, much shorter and less steep than the first, but it it did not feel any easier as the temperature rose to 30 degrees. After a couple of short climbs, the stage settled into rolling climbs and descents through more arid terrain, with incredible views on either side. But the heat was really starting to take its toll on the riders and lunch at Cartaxo was a welcome break from the blazing sun.

Any lingering thoughts for anyone at home that cycling in Portugal is a jolly holiday should by now be firmly dispelled. The third and final stage of the day was long – 74km – and relentless in the blazing sun and 32 degree heat. It featured an incredibly tough climb, where in places the gradient reached 14% – in the heat it was a truly brutal experience. At the top everyone did their best to cool down and take on more food and water before the descent. The huge wide open vista down over the Tejo estuary nature reserve showed the riders where they were heading, but the final 35km into Lisbon was a tough run and seemed to go on forever through multiple roundabouts, industrial districts and the urban sprawl of outer Lisbon.

pedElle 2017

But finally – after 500km and 7,800m of climbing – the end was in sight as the peloton rolled its way into busy Saturday evening Lisbon. Joy, jubilation, tears, laughter and relief came in equal measures as riders celebrated their achievements on the sea front with a glass of bubbly courtesy of Helix.

Dinner that evening was a chance to reflect and to thank those involved. Now in its fifth year, pedElle has gone from strength to strength since it was founded by Jennifer Ross of Tibbalds and Claire Treanor of Treanor Consulting, bringing more and more women in property into cycling. It has also, over the years, raised incredible amounts for Coram. This year’s total currently stands at £34,000 and the money raised will be used to help vulnerable children find permanent new loving homes through Coram’s adoption programme.

Last year became known as ‘the snowy one.’ It is quite likely that this will one will become known as ‘the hot one.’ It has, as Jennifer Ross points out, been “the hardest pedElle ever,” but without a doubt every rider pushed themselves further than they ever thought possible. Everyone who took part should be proud of what they have achieved.

pedElle 2017

Women's Cycling

Legal & General Real Assets pedElle 2017 prepares for its biggest ride yet

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Business networking and fundraising charity Club Peloton’s charity cycle challenge for women in property, the Legal & General Real Assets pedElle 2017, is almost ready for its grand depart. Bringing together women in the property industry to network, ride and fundraise, the fifth edition of the event will depart Porto for Lisbon this Thursday, 18th May.

It will be the largest pedElle ever, with a record 43 women from architecture, planning, investment and property management coming together to ride and fundraise for a number of charities, including Coram, the UK’s first and oldest children’s charity.

The cyclists will ride 500km and climb almost 8,000m in three days, completing the challenge as one peloton. After leaving Porto on Thursday they will arrive in Lisbon on Saturday 20th May. The route will take them inland, with stopovers at the cities of Viseu and Leiria, and through the beautiful Douro valley. Along the way, they will benefit from a pro rider experience, with full crew support in the form of lead car, mechanics, paramedics and sports injury therapists and a luggage van.

The cyclists will collectively be aiming to raise £40,000, two-thirds of which will go towards Coram Adoption, which finds safe and loving homes for some of the UK’s most vulnerable children, including those who have suffered from abuse and neglect since birth. In addition to fundraising, the ride provides a perfect opportunity for networking, as the challenging and gruelling three days of cycling will engender a sense of support and camaraderie, for which Club Peloton’s events are well known.

Last year’s event raised a whopping £25,000 – you can read more about it here.

NewsSportivesWomen's Cycling

Women’s charity cycling challenge PedElle returns for 2017: registration now open


Fundraising charity Club Peloton has announced that registration for the Legal & General Real Assets pedElle 2017 is now open. Designed to bring together women in the property industry to network, ride and fundraise, the fifth edition of the event will take place 17th-21st May 2017.

Over three days, the cyclists will ride 500km from Porto to Lisbon, stopping over at the inland cities of Viseu and Leiria along the way. With beautiful scenery and a lot of climbing to contend with, the event presents a considerable challenge. The riders will be spurred on by their fundraising for Coram, the UK’s oldest and first children’s charity, and Club Peloton’s principal beneficiary. The money raised will go towards Coram Adoption, which finds safe and loving homes for some of the UK’s most vulnerable children, including those who have suffered from abuse and neglect since birth.

pedElle 2017

PedElle is run as a group ride, with the peloton riding together at the pace of the slowest rider to ensure that everyone finishes the ride together. And in order to help the riders complete the challenge not only successfully but also enjoyably, Club Peloton provides support both pre- and on-event to ensure both bodies and bikes are as fully prepared as possible and to keep them rolling once out on the road.

Pre-event there are training rides and spin classes, as well as informative evenings to advise riders on training, nutrition, clothing and group riding skills – all essential for those riders who will not have undertaken a mass participation multi-day event before and who may only have taken up cycling relatively recently. For those new to cycling, Club Peloton has years of experience in helping riders get started, providing advice that is invaluable when you don’t know your derailleur from your dropout.

On-event support comes in the form of an energetic and enthusiastic support crew, a lead car, ride captains to look after the riders out on the road, sports injury therapists, mechanics, a paramedic (for emergencies only) and a luggage van. The cyclists are therefore left free to concentrate on the job in hand: cycling 500km for charity.

pedElle 2017

“The ride provides a fantastic way not only to fundraise, but also to network,” commented pedElle repeat rider Emily Knott from Legal & General Real Assets. “Not only do you ride further than you ever thought possible, but the format generates a sense of support and camaraderie that is unlike anything you’ll ever experience in an office, building long-lasting friendships and working relationships.”

pedElle 2017

“We’re delighted to be bringing the Legal & General Real Assets pedElle to the beautiful roads of Europe once more,” said Nick Hanmer, Chief Executive of Club Peloton. “As ever, we are keen to continue our mission to encourage more women into cycling. For those that have never cycled before, pedElle 2017 is a fantastic opportunity to get on a bike and challenge yourself in the company of many other incredible women, all the while raising money for a fantastic cause.”

Registration for the Legal & General Real Assets pedElle 2017 is now open here.

To find out more about the event please click here.

Women's Cycling

Success for Club Peloton as pedElle women’s cycling event raises £25,000


Earlier in the year we brought you rider interviews with some brilliant female cyclists who were in training for the Club Peloton pedElle 2016 cycling challenge. The event was a great success, which raised a brilliant £25,000 for Club Peloton’s principal beneficiary, children’s charity Coram.

The cycling challenge, which was open to women working in the property industry, was a resounding success for the cyclists as well as the charity. The three-day pedElle 2016 event was one of extremes: extremes in the weather, extremes in cycling terrain, and extremes in emotions.

25 women from the UK property industry, including Sam, Sarah and Yvonne (who you may remember from our rider interviews earlier this year) set off from the picturesque city of Salzburg on 24th May. The riders faced the prospect of a challenging 425km ride over three days. (At nearly 90 miles a day, that’s some serious exertion).

Club Peloton pedElle

The first day was one of the most challenging rides that most of the cyclists had ever ridden: a 26km long mountain climb over Austria’s highest pass, the 2,500m high Grossglockner pass. Things weren’t helped by the weather; it may have been warm and sunny in the valley bottom, but it grew progressively colder and wetter as the elevation increased. A snow storm at the top finally put paid to the rest of the day when the mountain pass was closed by the local patrol.

Club Peloton pedElle

The second day, from Lienz to Udine, featured two tough climbs – but the weather was, at least, more cyclist-friendly. The satisfaction of riding to the top of another pass and crossing the Italian border was rewarded with cheering, hugs and tears of joy – followed by a sweeping descent in the sunshine.

Club Peloton pedElle


Club Peloton pedElle

The third day, from Udine to Venice, was a marked contrast: a completely flat run into Mestre, buffeted by crosswinds and headwinds. Buoyed by the tantalising promise of Venice and the Architecture Biennale, the pedElle group arrived tired but jubilant.

Club Peloton pedElle

This year’s pedElle saw the riders face personal demons and incredible challenges but not only did the pre-event training pay off for everyone, but the support and camaraderie that everyone provided for each other throughout meant that everyone completed the ride.

Club Peloton pedElle

Yvonne summed up her experience, “If you want to experience new depths of confidence brought about my pushing yourself to the limit whilst being supported by a peloton of outstanding women in scenery that will take your breath way – you have to join us next year!”

Women's Cycling

Chorizo, wet weather training and saddle comfort: tips from the pedElle 2016 riders

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Last month we brought you the first of a three-part series of exclusive interviews with three riders participating in the Club Peloton pedElle 2016 women’s cycling charity event. PedElle 2016 is a three-day, 425km ride for female professionals from the property industry.  

We have partnered with Aspire PR to bring you this series and we’re thrilled to be catching up with riders Sam McClary, Sarah Jenkinson and Yvonne Smith ahead of the event which begins in Salzburg on Monday 23rd May. Read on for their training strategies, fueling tips, secrets to comfort in the saddle and more…


pedElle 2016 Rider Profile: Sam McClary

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Sam, with less than a month to go before pedElle 2016 begins in Salzburg, how do you feel?

Desperately looking forward to getting out of the office and having only to worry about turning my legs and pedalling. If I’m honest, I probably haven’t cycled enough but hoping there’s some good muscle memory left in my legs from earlier in the year and last year’s adventures.


What kit will you be taking? What brands/favourite items do you rely on for comfort and performance in the saddle?

I have some AMAZING kit from Betty Designs which I love. And always get comments on. And people asking if the Kick Butt on, well, my butt, is an instruction. It’s great kit though. Not only does it look cool, the fit is great and the chamois is just right – not too much, not too little.


What do you use in the way of training aids – for example, power meters, rollers, turbo trainers? Do you have any tips for keeping up training in poor weather?

I don’t use any kind of training aid, which is weird because I love gadgets. Because I’m not racing anymore and just exercising for adventure and challenge I tend to just use how I feel as a training aid. If you can be honest with yourself about how hard you are (or aren’t) training then I think that is a great life skill. Tips for training in poor weather? Man up! Skin is waterproof.


Apart from chorizo (!), how do you plan to fuel yourself on the pedElle 2016 ride? What are your top tips for maintaining energy levels – and is there anything you avoid?

Is there anything else apart from chorizo? For the sake of friendships and potentially garlicky burps, I will also use other fuels. I’m really quite anti gels and the like, however, so for me it will be dried fruits – dates and prunes are my favourites – seeds (I can’t do nuts) and some dark chocolate for those dark moments. I’ll also have a greens drink in the morning and pop a vitamin c tablet in my first bottle on my bike. Recovery – apart from wine and Aperol Spritz (a traditional PedElle tipple) – will be a protein shake or chocolate milk. Not just to rebuild muscle, but also because it is a tasty treat after a long, hard ride cycle.


One of the biggest challenges on long multi-day rides is saddle discomfort. As an experienced pedElle participant, what is your advice to first timers for avoiding saddle pain?

Investing in a good saddle that works for you and finding the ideal pair of shorts is the key when dealing with saddle pain. Making sure you have been fitted on your bike and using correct form will also help alleviate any discomfort. And getting out of the saddle for a little wiggle never hurts. And of course, sometimes you’ve just got to break everything (EVERYTHING) in a bit.


pedElle 2016 Rider Profile: Sarah Jenkinson

pedElle 2016


Sarah, with less than a month to go before pedElle 2016 begins in Salzburg, how do you feel?

I’m feeling excited! We had a great training ride a couple of weeks ago in Surrey where 12 PedEllers turned up. There was a fun and supportive atmosphere in the group and lots of giggles. My knees have been feeling a little sore, especially as I’ve been doing more running recently too. So I’ve (slightly grudgingly) started some strength and conditioning sessions to strengthen everything up before the ride. This is particularly important now that we’ve been informed that the first day has 4000m of climbing over 180km with a few 20% gradients…!


What kit will you be taking? What brands/favourite items do you rely on for comfort and performance in the saddle?

Hopefully the sun will be shining so it will just be a case of shorts, jersey, sunglasses and a cap! I’ll probably take my Velotoze shoe covers in case it rains ­ I just love these. They’re like a swimming cap for feet and come in lots of bright colours. Lightweight and look good!


What do you use in the way of training aids – for example, power meters, rollers, turbo trainers? Do you have any tips for keeping up training in poor weather?

I’m pretty old school; a map and a bike. I don’t really like gyms or spin classes, so tend to just get on with it good weather or bad.


How do you plan to fuel yourself on the ride? What are your top tips for maintaining energy levels – and is there anything you avoid?

I try to eat natural foods where possible and just keep eating and drinking every hour. I avoid gels after a bad experience in a triathlon. A few of the ladies have been exchanging flapjack recipes in the run up to the ride and I think home made energy foods are always a great shout! In terms of recovery drinks, personally, I find the best is a cold beer!


One of the biggest challenges on long multi-­day rides is saddle discomfort. As an experienced pedElle cyclist, what is your advice to first timers for avoiding saddle pain?

Invest in a good saddle! I have a female specific saddle -­ a Selle Italia Diva and have used it on many long distance trips including a cycle across America. This combined with a decent pair of padded shorts (I use various brands including dhb, Liv and Rapha) should be fine. Of course, sitting in any position for 8+ hours will always lead to some discomfort but I have never really had any big issues.

[This just goes to show how the only way to find the right saddle for you is to go for a saddle mapping session – the Selle Italia Diva was hellish for Vamper’s Victoria but clearly the right saddle for other cyclists. Read more here.]


pedElle 2016 Rider Profile: Yvonne Smith

pedElle 2016

Yvonne, with less than a month to go before pedElle 2016 begins in Salzburg, how do you feel?

I am taking the training very seriously as I want to be able to complete the event and not pick up any injuries. PedElle provided me with the programme and it is achievable if you are single-minded with a great husband (shout out to Julian!). Once a week, I go to a spin class and another day will cycle to work and back (50 miles round trip).

Over recent weekends, I have done different rides both days to get some variety. Sometimes endurance and sometimes hills and last Sunday was both! I got up Ditchling Beacon without stopping for the first time and I was thrilled. The family is still planning, accompanying me and encouraging me. Mentally very positive – need to keep pedalling!


What kit will you be taking? What brands/favourite items do you rely on for comfort and performance in the saddle?

I haven’t found shorts with sufficient padding yet! I have received the kit list so will go through that and borrow off my daughter Hannah or wander down to the many cycle shops in the West End. To reward my efforts I have bought a Queen of the Mountains T-shirt and one with “Girls on bikes – keep up” for relaxing in the evening. I have promised to ditch the rucksack with all the extra layers, tools, torch, whistle, food, book (in case I get a puncture and have to wait around) etc. as I become more confident.


What do you use in the way of training aids – for example, power meters, rollers, turbo trainers? Do you have any tips for keeping up training in poor weather?

What’s the saying – “There is no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing and equipment”. I have only given up once and that was in Storm Kate. I love being outside and as I have a dog, you get used to carrying on regardless.


How do you plan to fuel yourself along the pedElle 2016 route? What are your top tips for maintaining energy levels – and is there anything you avoid?

I have actually started snacking on chorizo [like Sam!] when cycling and I prefer it to sweets. I don’t really have a sweet tooth. I have also bought Nuun rehydration tablets to add to my water bottle and these are not too sweet either. The usual – wine gums and Jelly Babies give you a lift and help you face the hills. I am ravenous a lot these days!

Multiple long days in the saddle can be quite uncomfortable. What is your strategy for staying comfortable on your bike over long distances?

I mentioned this earlier. I have bought chamois cream but when you are tender it stings like heck! Still looking for a solution and it’s one of my favourite topics of conversation with female cyclists at the moment. During the ride I move back onto the saddle going downhill and forward going up and this helps the balance and also gives a little relief to the under area!



In addition to paying an entry fee, the riders commit to raising a minimum amount for a number of children’s charities including Coram. To date, Coram has received £500,000 from Club Peloton events, making it Coram’s largest corporate partner. The funds raised by pedElle 2016 will go towards Coram’s adoption services, helping vulnerable children find stable, loving families.