Friday Featured Rider - Ruth

It’s a long time since we’ve had a Friday Featured Rider – too long! So we’re bringing it back to keep us all motivated through the final weeks of winter.

This week, meet the fabulous Ruth Shah who will be returning for a 3rd time on tour this summer. Her endless cheeriness and enthusiasm is contagious – she’s just a great person to have around when the going gets tough. We couldn’t have found a better ambassador and we’re so grateful to Ruth for taking the time to contribute to this post.

Vive Le Tour!

Meet Ruth Shah ...

AGE: 54
LOCATION: Cambridge, UK


I’ve cycled for a few years, never in a club, but just for fun with friends. In 2016 I cycled abroad for the first time and left flat, windy Cambridge for Des Cinglès du Ventoux. I learnt two things on this trip, I loved climbing and hated descending! I sobbed all the way down the first descent convinced I was going to die. However cycling in the mountains was such a joy, a trip to the Pyrenees followed a year later, then a MTB holiday cycling around Vietnam. All for fun and without pressure.

Other than these trips, my cycling is all done around Cambridge and Norfolk, on a mountain or gravel bike in the winter and road bike in the summer. I go out two or three times a week at the moment. There are no great climbs in East Anglia but the Norfolk roads are lovely and so the ever present wind (I’m sure we live in the windiest part of the country) is my training.


Riding Le Loop is an experience that is unparalleled. On returning from the Alps in 2022 I was blown away by the whole thing, the support, organisation, camaraderie, friendliness and inclusivity and so found myself clicking the ‘Book’ button for 2023…. Stages 1-6, Bilbao and the Pyrenees.

I will openly say I was under-trained and told everyone I was never, ever doing this ever again! I felt that time to train was an added pressure in an already busy life. Like the Alps in 2022, I was doing this on my own, but as soon as you arrive and have the first briefing you realise you aren’t on your own. You are part of a group of incredible people all with a huge variety of backgrounds, experiences and levels of training!

I have found being a woman on tour a totally positive experience. Being in the minority, people remember your name, (although how the staff remember everyone is beyond me), and there is a feeling that you are being ‘looked out for’ both on and off the road.

It is true that you will cycle yourself fitter whilst on tour. Whilst out on the road, the only thing you have to do is drink plenty, follow the arrows and find the feed stations. The logistics, packing, planning, kit, getting stuff in the right bags, and the transfers are by far the hardest part of Le Loop. The cycling is the easiest part of your day!

My advice to anyone thinking about Le Loop, is do it…sign up and everything will fall into place. Read and listen to all the advice that the staff give, it’s based on years of experience and it works! It makes life so much easier when you are on the road for long days. There is so much information and support out there, use it. It’s gospel!

Everyone is there to help you, if you are unsure of your capabilities and there is a lite option to prebook, prebook it just in case, it helps the organisers. You don’t have to use it, chances are someone else will. Finally, get out there, smile and say hello. You’ll become part of something special you’ll never forget.

Cycling is only part of the Le Loop experience – the routes, scenery, laughs, banter and fun on the road, plus amazing food stops, coffee, massage, mechanical support, and the joy of looking at your Strava at the end of the day and thinking “I did that” is the best feeling in the world.

Not forgetting in all of this, the reason why we choose to cycle for Le Loop, is the William Wates Memorial Trust. Having the opportunity the meet people involved in charities the Trust supports whilst on tour, is an emotional and humbling experience. This is why I find myself booked for the Middle Mountains in 2024!


I’m getting out on my mountain bike just banking winter miles in preparation for the end of June. I’m feeling excited, not pressured this year as I know if I just get out regularly and then longer when the weather improves I’ll be ok. I don’t have to do anything really hardcore, just be consistent. I have booked a trip with friends in May cycling the Coast & Castles route, Newcastle to Edinburgh. I’ve even persuaded my husband to join on his electric bike. We have two family weddings this year so lots of excitement outside of cycling, and of course beach walks with my lovely dog, and my regular sea swims.

I’ve grown in confidence from doing Le Loop. I’m happy to travel and turn up, on my own, knowing once I get there everything will be more than ok.

Chapeau Ruth! We’re all looking forward to seeing you again in France. Best of luck with the rest of your training!

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