I am now a Breeze Ride Leader! Woo hoo!
So what on earth is one of those?....(the imaginary reader in my head asks)
"The Breeze network is British Cycling’s new national network of bike rides for
women. Supported by Sport England lottery funding, Breeze will deliver tens of
thousands of cycling opportunities for women across England.
These fun, recreational group bike rides will be led by women for women. The
Breeze network empowers women to change the face of cycling for good and leave
a lasting legacy. Over the next three years British Cycling will train over 1,000
women to become local Breeze champions with a Ride Leader qualification. This will
result in over 80,000 women cycling."
It forms part of the Closing the Gap campaign.
At present three times more men cycle than women. In fact the numbers of women riding their bikes is actually in decline. Getting more women on bikes means:
- they are more likely to get their children on bikes who may well be the next cycling gold medal winner or Tour winner.
- It is great for the economy. More cyclists overall boosts sales at our local bike shops. It also empowers women within the job market. Having a bike enables you to apply for jobs you may not have thought possible due to costs of commuting.
- Its great for reducing bum size and a bike ride normally includes a cake stop.
- you are making where you live a nicer place to be. Once less car as the saying goes. But its true. In fact places where people cycle tend to go hand in hand with higher property prices. (although its a bit chicken and egg that one)
- It is a good stress buster
I really could go on.....
here are some good reasons if you still need some http://www.bikeradar.com/road/fitness/article/30-reasons-to-take-up-cycling-23965/
The course was a full day at the beautiful Velodrome in Manchester. I am very fond of the velodrome or National Cycle Centre as it is now known. I worked opposite while it was being built and saw the grand opening. I have also been lucky enough to cycle there, which has to be said, is one of the most fun things you can do on a bike!
When I say full day. It was a really full day. Me and another 14 hardy females rocked up to our classroom at 8.30 ready for Breezing. The first thing that struck me was how professional it all was. I am also a UK Athletics Coach, but their courses had nothing on this. We were all given black British Cycling drawstring bags full of glossy full colour course material and handbooks. Very swish indeed. There has obviously been alot of investment gone into the whole of British Cycling, but not nearly as much as other sports. They use their money wisely and run it very much like a business.
Although we sat in a classroom and most of the course was delivered by PowerPoint, never once did it feel like school. It was kept quite informal and there was tea, coffee and biscuits on hand at all times.
After some discussions about our roles as Breeze Leaders, being the professional face of British Cycling, verbal and nonverbal communication, good practise and techniques we took to the road.
Being in Manchester, the weather was against us, as we huddled together in the bike stand to talk about helmets and bike checks. Who knew that bike helmets went out of date?????? Not me. And now my husband thinks its all a clever ploy to buy more kit.
The practical sessions started slowly with a warm up. By this time the rain was lashing in sideways (even though it was June, what is going on with our weather?) No amount of cycling about was going to get any of us warm, but it transpired it was all a ruse to see if we could actually all ride a bike.
Off to the open road we cycled as a group, taking it in turns to lead the group through the traffic and safely transport us a one mega-cycle-lorry (it was an effective analogy that kept creeping into the day)
A spot of lunch meant I could catch up with a twitter friend from Sustrans @chapeaubike and then it was back to the open roads of Clayton.
The roads had started to heat up now as Coldplay were playing at the Etihad which is almost next door. Thankfully as we were still very cold and wet from the morning session, this was a little faster paced. I took the opportunity to take the group around a busy roundabout. I love using assertive riding to make the road my own around junctions like this. Then back to the classroom for some sobering reminders on child protection and what to do if you are on a ride in the middle of the Saddleworth moors with no phone signal and a broken bike and a crying child and a storm approaching and zombie invasion etc etc etc......
At the end of the day we exchanged emails and I am sure I have made a few life long friends. I really hope we all catch up soon on a ride.
Once my paperwork is sorted, I will be organising some Breeze rides in South Manchester. I genuinely cant wait. Especially with the summer holidays only 6 weeks away. It will be great fun!