A GROUP of woman from the region have cycled from London to Paris to celebrate the 100 years since the first women’s vote.

The 16 women, known as the Durham Redstarts, started cycling together through British Cycling’s Breeze Network programme, which uses volunteer ride leaders to encourage more women to cycle.

Durham Ride leader, Jack Patrickson, had been planning the ride for a year and had ensured the riders, aged 39 to 65, with an average age of 52 were thoroughly prepared for their challenge on the hills around Durham.

At the end of their first day cycling in to Newhaven, irate drivers quickly took to social media alerting other drivers to the “15-20 female cyclists with backsides the size of small countries, travelling on the C7, avoid the area”.

This prompted the cycling enthusiasts to immediately rename themselves the Beautiful Bottom Club, and they were swamped with offers to join from fellow women cyclists up and down the country.

The group were thrilled with the support they got in France, where they felt far more appreciated by passing traffic and enjoyed the Avenue Verte cycling routes through Normandy,

From Paris the group took the Eurostar and East Coast Train home, and were greeted at Durham Station by North Skelton Brass band, who are led by Lewis Wilkinson, the son of one the riders. Lesley had raised over £1,000 through the ride in support of sending the band to the National Finals later this year.

The cyclists were raising funds for Bowel Cancer UK, Crohn’s and Colitis, Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team and North Skelton Brass Band.