Lucinda takes on a cycling challenge and spots some sheep along the way... 

Do you know why the new city Brighton bike share scheme is called ‘BERYL’ bikes? It’s because of Beryl Burton. Or, to give a bit of perspective: Beryl Burton OBE. She was awesome. An English racing cyclist who won 90 domestic championships and SEVEN world titles. My favourite fact about her is that she set the women’s record for the 12 hour time trial which exceeded the men’s record for two years. She offered the man she overtook a Liquorice Allsort as she zoomed past him. Go BERYL!

I’ll be honest with you. I am a strident feminist and delight in learning about strong women who achieve incredible things against the odds, but I am not a natural cyclist and so signing up to the Women’s Aid ‘1.7 miles a day – your way challenge’ by cycling to and from work is, for me, really quite odd. Women’s Aid’s goal is: ‘Let’s Build a Future Where domestic abuse is no longer tolerated.’ This made me want be part of #teamwomensaid , to be strong and achieve incredible things. Like not falling off the bike. Go me!

You know what a non-cyclist who signs up for a cycling challenge doesn’t have? A bike! You know who doesn’t want to buy a bike? Me! Bike share schemes resolve the issue of not having the space, the spare cash or simply the inclination to get your own. If I had a bike it would involve going up and down steps to store it at my home. No thanks. With 50 Hubs across the city and 395 bikes (and constantly adding) it’s easy to find a BERYL Bike near you. It shows you where they are on the app.

My morning now looks like this: Drop the kids at school, walk to Hove Park and head to the BERYL Bike hub. Much to my delight, it’s right next to a Shaun the Sheep! ‘Le Louton De Pays Des Merveilles’ sheep (which translates as ‘The Wonderland Sheep’ although I was CONVINCED it was ‘Mutton dressed as Lamb’. The strident feminist in me is relieved!)  I flippin’ LOVE the sheep! Put the FOUR digit number into the Shaun by the Sea App to receive a satisfying ‘BAAAAA!’ But we’re not (just) here for beautifully painted statues of Wallace and Gromit spin off characters with the charming back story of raising money for The Martlets with a side-hustle of encouraging visitors to go to lots of different places across the city  – we’ve got cycling to do.

Concentrate on this bit, because I didn’t get it right …for quite a while. On the BERYL app you need to enter the SIX digit number from the bike you want to use. Don’t bother with the scanning bit – that needs a little ironing out. Remember that BERYL bikes arrived in the city in April and more were added at the end of August. Give them a break as all new things have a few bumps in the ‘cycle lane’. So…you need to wait for the yellow ‘sticking up’ lock on the hub to unlock. HOWEVER that is not the only lock. The main lock is a small silver knob by the back wheel. It slides up and down in a crescent moon formation. If this gets stuck you need to rotate the back wheel slightly. Don’t do what I did and call the helpline every time because I was getting frustrated with it not doing what it should do. Rather than me not doing what I should do – locking the bike. (Luckily, they can lock it remotely!)

Off we gooooooooo!!!!! Well, my journey starts by going uphill immediately on the Old Shoreham Road, so, providing I have selected an electric bike (I learnt that the hard way!) then it is gooooooooo! Check above the back wheel. Does it have a battery and the word ‘Electric’? Then (can you guess?) it’s an electric bike. If not – I slowly get exhausted before climbing off, pushing the bike along the pavement until the flat bit and THEN goooooooooo!

While we whizz down The Drive using the cycle lane I will explain the pricing. A 30 Day Pass gives you 800 minutes of riding and costs £32. 4p per minute. Plus, there’s a £1 release fee for every time you use a bike. I worked it out and it’s cheaper this way than using the bus (although, we have the Ultra Low Emission Zone Buses in Brighton so they’re better for the environment too). However, if you choose the ‘Pay as You Ride’ it’s £1 to unlock and 16p a minute it can add up quickly. Great for testing it out though.

At the bottom of The Drive you can join the Bike Lanes on the Seafront. This is when it all gets a bit glorious. Cycling along you can spot the groups of people practicing Yoga, starting HIIT training, sea swimmers, fellow cyclists, photographers, artists and, of course – the occasional sheep. In your own personal mini tour of Brighton look out for beach huts, remains of the West Pier, Band Stand, Brighton i360, and just before the Brighton Palace Pier is where I turn to lock the bike to the BERYL bike hub in Bartholomew Square. To be welcomed by ‘The Shaun Regent’. BAA-rilliant!


Lucinda is a Rise Domestic Abuse Community Ambassador and is taking part in the Women’s Aid 1.7 Challenge this month.

⇒ To sponsor Lucinda, please use this link:

⇒ To find out more about becoming a Community Ambassador go to:


Beryl BTN Bikes
Cycle/Vehicle Hire
Beryl Bikes - by the Pavilion

Beryl BTN Bikes is run by Beryl in partnership with Brighton & Hove City Council. The bikes are easy to use and are hired through the Beryl app,



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