Keep your Tour de France and razor blade saddles, here’s one cycling club in the city getting ladies fit and healthy at their own pace.

Marking World Bicycle Day last week, the Evening Times caught up with the award-winning Glasgow Gals, a group dedicated to giving women every chance to get on their bike.

With a membership of 44 and counting, the Gals cycle out every Thursday evening from the edge of Glasgow Green. Pass them by and you’ll catch the banter and laughter as they prepare their bikes at the colourful Free Wheel North shipping containers, opposite the Templeton Building.

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Affordable and inclusive, beginners, fairweather and more experienced cyclists are all welcome at Glasgow Gals. For ladies feeling a little rusty getting back on the saddle for the first time in a while, bikes and helmets are available for hire thanks to community funding from Tesco and sponsorship support from Dales Cycles. And when the time comes to purchase a new or second hand bike, there’s plenty of advice available from experienced club members.

One Glasgow Gal who can’t get enough of her weekly social rides is Michelle Burton, having joined the club last August following a battle over breast cancer.

Michelle, who lives in Rutherglen, says: “I never thought I’d be back on a bike, but you’re never too old. Everytime I take a wee knock in life, I say ‘right I want to go to my cycle class.’ I’ve been out and about on my own a few times too.”

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Michelle and pal Annette Morrison, who met through Maggie’s, the Glasgow cancer support charity, encouraged each other to get cycling as part of their physical recovery to fitness.

Michelle adds: “When I first started with the Gals I was coming along in the car and now I cycle to the Thursday night rides and back home. It’s a three mile ride down, then we do six-and-a-half miles and three miles home.

“I’m loving it, it’s great. I tell everybody ‘you need to come.’ I’m trying to spread the word because I know how it’s help me.”

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Awareness is a big deal for Glasgow Gals. Each new member is given three ribbons when they join; blue is the club ribbon, purple represents epilepsy awareness and pink for breast cancer awareness. In addition, a wee bike charm is worn to highlight mental health.

Ride leader and designer of the Gals’ eye-catching sky blue and white club shirts, Hayley Robertson, says: “Our ribbons and bike charm are just to say you’re not alone in what you might be going through in life.

“A lot of people you might speak to appear quite confident… but that might not be the case. Glasgow Gals can help people that may have depression or anxiety.

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“There’s space for both physical recovery and mental recovery if it’s needed," adds Hayley. "Sometimes you don’t need to say a thing but just come out on a ride in some fresh air.”

Ahead of hitting their second birthday this summer, Glasgow Gals’ social innovation and its impact was recognised in March as the Scottish Cycling Association awarded them Best Club of the Year for 2018. Making the achievement all the more special for the Gals was having Team GB Track Pursuit Olympic gold medalist, Katie Archibald personally present the award.

Now, with improved fitness for beginners and challenges desired by intermediate members, Glasgow Gals’ secretary and lover of all things bike Rachel Cargill explains: “When we first started, people weren’t always interested in longer rides, but as the ladies are getting more experienced on their bikes there’s calls for more road rides at the weekend.”

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Meeting that response, the Gals’ club calendar has become booked up with cycle trips across the West of Scotland... with Millport their latest destination and a cycle to the Falkirk Wheel scheduled for later this month. A coffee and cake stop naturally takes up part of the day for refuelling.

And no cycling club forgets the importance of getting social off the bike too, which is something the Gals do every six weeks at the Jenny Burn in Oatlands.

To support or read more about Glasgow Gals, find them at