An epic cycling tour has geared up an Ilkley woman to establishing her own business.

Andi Lonnen, who has been cycling with Otley Cycle Club for eight years, set up her financial training business Alba following a 1,600-mile cycle on her own across Switzerland and France.

A former finance director, she decided to take on the mammoth challenge during a career break in the summer of 2012.

“After a truly fabulous tour – one of the best experiences of my life, I wrote a book about my adventures,” she said. “As I was writing it, I realised the biggest lesson I’d learnt on the trip was to have courage. I’d had the courage to attempt a challenging cycle tour, something I didn’t know I could achieve. Now could I apply this to my career?”

Andi Lonnen Business Associates (Alba) was set up January 2013 and in just one year the business has many happy clients, glowing testimonials and a professional website. Andi, who currently chairs the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants Yorkshire Women’s Network, said: “Providing upbeat, highly practical and participative business finance training and coaching is the main focus of the business, making finance accessible and enjoyable to even those terrified of finance and numbers.

“We also provide part-time finance director services to small businesses that do not yet require the services or expense of a full time finance director.”

She added: “The sole purpose of all our services is to improve the financial health and performance of your organisation. I challenge everyone to have courage in themselves and to learn some basic business finance skills. Magic can happen when people know how to contribute to increased sales, improved costs and a healthier cash flow. It can turn around your business!”

For more information about Andi’s book, visit The book costs £1.99 and ten per cent of the proceeds go to the British Lung Foundation.