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British Cycling backed rides aim to get more women riding bikes for fun

Breeze, the recreational cycling programme for women that is run by British Cycling, has recently launched in Scotland and there are now plans to also expand into Wales

The British Cycling initiative aims to address many of the reasons why women might be discouraged from cycling and the emphasis is on inclusivity. Social rides led by volunteers known as Breeze Champions are open to women of all ages and abilities.

British Cycling’s director of recreation and partnerships, Stewart Kellett, said of the programme:

“Breeze events offer the whole women’s cycling community a fantastic opportunity to come together, share some memories and make some new ones too through fun, informal bike rides.

“We have had phenomenal success ever since the programme’s launch in May 2011, with Breeze proving a key contributor to our ambition to get one million more women cycling by 2020.”

Since Breeze was launched in England, a thousand of its Champions have led over 12,000 rides and in May, the first volunteer training course was held north of the border with 15 women attending. Following the impact of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, more courses are expected to take place throughout Scotland over the next year.

Katie Archibald, who rides for Team Scotland as well as the Great Britain Cycling Team, said:

“It’s fantastic that Breeze has launched in Scotland. I am certain that the programme will experience the same success here as it has throughout England, getting thousands of women back on bikes, enjoying the many benefits cycling brings.”

A partnership between Sport Wales and British Cycling will also see the project expand into Wales this autumn. Run as a pilot for a year in Swansea, Cardiff, Newport and Monmouthshire, it is then hoped that further funding will allow it to roll out across Wales in its second year.

The CEO of Sport Wales, Sarah Powell, said:

“We’re pleased that with British Cycling the Breeze programme will be extending into Wales. Shrinking the participation gap in sport between men and women is central to Sport Wales’ strategy and the opportunity to invest in programmes such as this will help us achieve this outcome.”

Powell says that the organisation’s Active Adults survey indicated that more women wanted to cycle more often. She hopes that by providing the right opportunities, this will become a reality.

The pilot will see 60 Welsh Breeze champions undergoing training with the first course set to be held on Saturday October 11 2014 at Sport Wales National Centre, Cardiff. If you’d like to be involved, you can register your interest here.

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