In its continuing efforts to try and get more women cycling, the sport’s governing body, British Cycling, has launched the Breeze network of free, local and flexible bike rides just for women.
The purpose of the Breeze rides is to give women an opportunity to get out on local, friendly and informal group rides with other women, where the focus is primarily on having fun.
Rides led by women for women
British Cycling will train and support 1,000 local Breeze champions, female volunteers who will lead and organise rides. These leaders will add their riders to the Breeze network at times to suit them and their groups. A target of 25,000 local Breeze bike ride opportunities has been made over next three years by British Cycling.
The cycle rides are aimed to fit around busy work and family lives. There is no restriction on age and abilities of women wanting to take part either.
The first Breeze bike rides will start in June and roll out in towns and cities across England over the coming months.
Currently three times as many men take part in cycling regularly, yet research undertaken by British Cycling suggests that women would like to ride a bike more often. Figures from British Cycling show this latent demand at 840,900 women.
The sport’s governing body surveyed over 1,000 women earlier this year to find out what was discouraging them from riding. Results showed that safety concerns, lack of knowledge of routes and having no one to cycle with were the key barriers to getting involved.
One of Breeze’s aims is to get over 80,000 women back on a bike or riding for the first time. It also aims to convert 20,000 of them into regular cyclists over the next three years, reversing a trend that has seen 35,000 women drop out of bike riding in recent years. Currently only 2% of women cycle regularly compared to 6% of men.
Breeze is to be funded to the tune of just under £1m by the National Lottery via Sport England’s Active Women’s Fund over three years.
To find a Breeze bike ride in your local area or to find out how to become a Local Breeze Champion, go to the Breeze Website set up by British Cycling.
Photo used courtesy of British Cycling