Some years ago, two women were having a chat and had a great idea: “Why don’t we cycle to the Venice Biennale all together?”. Now it wouldn’t be a crazy idea if those women were from Padua. The problem is that the city where this conversation took place was London.

Those women were well aware of sharing a true passion for cycling, and were struck by how few women take part in this fantastic sport. So, the first pedElle was originally launched: a female-only cycling event for women involved in property industry.

pedElle group ride

After the first edition in 2013 the routes started to vary destinations to make the event look appealing every year, offering different kind of challenges – high mountains, long distances etc. -. The pedElle group cycled from Salzburg to Venice, from Bilbao to Madrid, and for the 5th edition pedElle in 2017 will take place in Portugal.

A group of approx. 35 women will cover the distance from Porto to Lisbon from the 17th to the 21st May, covering a total distance of 500 km. This non-competitive event represents a new, very inclusive level of amateur cycling for women. The core idea is that the synergy of the group can push every person to overtake his limits and achieve target that otherwise would seem impossible. Not only the group will have to work together during the three days spent pedaling in Portugal; a shared calendar of training will be available to build on a team and get ready for the final game.

The level of fitness required for this challenge is way more than for a normal weekend bike trip: 160 km per day on a quite-hilly route (although this year there are no Alps to cross so that’s definitely a bonus) for 3 days. The accommodation is organized, as well as health assistance and a van to transport the participants’ luggage.

Why do I know all of this? because I’m going to do it! My name’s Paola, I’m an architect and this May I’ll take part to this year’s edition for the first time. I came across pedElle because the director of the company I work for, Karakusevic Carson Architects, is a big supporter of it. Moreover, had the chance to meet one of the founders, Jennifer Ross, when she worked with us as consultant for a number of projects.

I was fascinated by the confidence Jennifer was able to communicate while describing the event. Not only had she triggered a sense of excitement for the level of this challenge: she also made me understand that this is a great opportunity for women to team up their way, without setting a macho sort of competitive rivalry. No one will be left behind, but this challenge is serious, and the great majority of the participants have never done 500 km in 3 days. The training started indoor for the end of the winter but soon we’ll hit the road!

Paola Zanotto pedElle

The event includes a fundraising for important charities, among which Coram is the main recipient. The oldest association of this kind in United Kingdom, Coram was founded in 1739 with the aim to get offer better chances for vulnerable children: it provides adoption essential services, creative therapies for traumatic events, it upholds children’s right, and much more.

pedElle 2014 group

Every person registered to pedElle commits herself to raise £ 1000 in support for Coram, which makes pedElle even more challenging!


If you liked the story of pedElle and you’d like to contribute to the fundraising for this event, you can follow the link below and fill up the form, donations can be anonymous.

Every little help will make this challenge possible, so thank you very much in advance!

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