Does my bum look big in this?

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Feature writer Helen Johnston continues her training for the Great Notts Bike Ride on a Land Rover bike loaned by Church Street Cycles, Gainsborough.

I think I’ve cracked the problem with saddle soreness - two pairs of padded shorts.

Tackling 30 miles with Gainsborough Aegir Cycling Club was my biggest challenge so far and I knew I needed to be prepared.

My bum might have looked enormous, but who cares? I was the most comfortable I’ve been on a bike ride so far.

We set off from Gainsborough Adventure Playground on Riseholme Road, with ride leader Trevor Halstead promising to chaperone me round the route.

I thought we would be tootling along at a gentle pace, letting the experienced cyclists go ahead.

But Trevor was leading from the front virtually the whole way round and keeping up with him meant I was at the front too, averaging 13mph.

At one point club secretary Daniel Nicholson (who took the photo above) joked that they would have to put some bricks on my luggage rack to slow me down a bit.

The route took us out into the Lincolnshire countryside, journeying through villages and hamlets like Upton, Thorpe Le Fallows and Heapham.

I was enjoying myself until we came to the hill at Brattleby with a 10.4% gradient.

Trevor had said beforehand that there was no pressure and I could get off and walk if I wanted to.

But when it came to it there was no way he was going to let me give in.

“Come on, just a bit further, you’re virtually at the top now,” he called out as I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest.

Other club members right behind me were also shouting me on and somehow I made it to the top.

Without their encouragement I wouldn’t have made it.

The view made it worthwhile, 54 metres above sea level and the Trent valley laid out before us. The perfect place for a quick water and biscuit break.

We were riding into a cold head wind on our way back towards Gainsborough, but made it back in about two hours 20 minutes.

My backside might have been well padded but my bare hands were frozen solid. Padded gloves next.

The ride was a fundraiser for Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance and donations can be made through Trevor at Church Street Cycles, 01427 617752.

The Aegir Club website is at