Five local women are proving Girls CAN by cycling to London’s Lidos to raise funds for local charity.

The Cyclelido challenge begun in Hampton Pool last December, on behalf of the Princess Alice Hospice (PAH), and due to end in September involves 13 of London’s best loved open air pools.

Cycling through challenging traffic and all kinds of weather from snow  to intense heat, the Teddington five Charlotte Duff, 52, Cathy Woodall, 53, Diane Wesson, Fiona Mackenzie, 54, and Sally King have recently reached their 7th and 8th lidos. This month’s ride to the Park Road Lido (50m) and Parliament Hill Lido (60m) saw each of them swim 1,100m. So far they have collectively cycled 1,830km and swum 26.5km.

Commenting on the challenge Cathy, a counsellor said: ` Friends think I’m mad, but it’s good fun and you get to see loads of London’. Charlotte, a web designer, added: `After spending the last 21 years bringing up the family it’s now brilliant doing something for myself and getting fit. ` Diane, who works with Sally at Waldegrave School, is enjoying the adventure whilst her daughter is away and said: `Lots of my friends would like to do something similar.’

Four of the pools, which includes Camden’s London Oasis, have been heated, the rest: Brockwell Park (50m), Tooting Bec (90m), the Serpentine (100m), Parliament Hill are freshwater are not. The coldest has been 17° and the warmest 21°. Despite shivering before taking the plunge no wetsuits have been used. Madness maybe, but invigorating. The best three so far: Brockwell, Tooting Bec, and Parliament Hill. All are beautiful on a hot day.

Finding the best cycle route is Sally’s task, and motivation is Charlotte’s. Determination, stamina and a wish to make a difference helps power the pedals and humour makes it fun.  Cathy’s lively tweets resulted in unexpected VIP treatment at Brockwell. Some lidos offered free entry.   Diane’s baking boosts flagging spirits and Fiona, a freelance journalist, reports on progress. This is teamwork.

Grateful for their families’ patience, group highlights include seeing London’s amazing landmarks and parks; feeling fitter, bonding with each other and `wild swimming’ in the Serpentine. Lows seeing Grenfell Tower; pedalling up Highgate West Hill, icy water and weather.

All are excited about visiting Hamptead Heath ponds in August.

Amateur cyclists, and of mixed swimming ability, these women show that it’s possible, with a bit of local training, to push yourself further than you think. By September they hope to exceed their £2000 fund raising target. (

Princess Alice Hospice, which offers outstanding end of life care to adult patients across Surrey and Middlesex, has supported colleagues and friends of the cyclists.

Article supplied by Fiona Kingston