Women cyclists take to the road to honour Billie's world record
PUBLISHED: 11:35 18 February 2015
An all-women group of 15 cyclists rode a 34 mile tribute to a little known but remarkable world record holding woman at the weekend.
The team cycled from Bury St Edmunds, out to Ixworth and back again on Sunday morning, celebrating the achievements of Billie Fleming, who in 1938 set the record for the most miles cycled in a year by a woman.
Marking Ride Like Billie Day, the event was organised by cycling enthusiast Amelia Richardson, who, after discovering Billie’s achievements, wanted to help raise her profile.
“Hardly anyone knows about her. To do what she did in 1938, with the heavier bikes, just three gears, it is an incredible achievement,” said the mother-of-two.
“We did some maths the other day and worked out she rode an average of 81 miles every day for a year. For her record to still stand shows how good she was.”
February 15 marked a rare relaxing day for Billie in 1938, who died at the age of 100 last year. She decided to spend it visiting friends, cycling just 11 miles of her total of 29,603.7.
Mrs Richardson, 41, who lives in Bury, said: “This year there is a tribute organised to Billie, with groups of women riding every day across the country in order to reach the total.
“The same people organising that decided February 15 was a good day to have smaller rides and created Ride Like Billie Day.”
“Hopefully we can raise the profile of her achievements. To set out and do what she did, especially as a woman in 1938, it is remarkable.”
Speaking about the day, she added: “It went really well. The sun was out and we had 15 of us turn up. I think people were very surprised to see a group of just women cycling together. Women’s cycling is getting more and more recognition, hopefully we can encourage more to take up the sport.”
The group plans to ride again on June 30, marking the day Billie rode through the town. To get in touch with Mrs Richardson, email firstname.lastname@example.org