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Minister joins Breeze cycling network ride

Plaudits for Basingstoke group to get more women on bikes

A women's cycling group, set up by a mother in Basingstoke, has won plaudits from a Government minister and local MP who took part in a recent women's only ride.

Maria Miller who is Minister for Disabled People at the Department for Work and Pension, and the local MP, joined a Breeze cycle network ride in Hatch Warren Community Centre, run by Ruth Crawford.

Ruth leads a number of groups on regular trips to show how cycling can be used as a practical mode of transport, without the pressure to be sporty or competitive that sometimes comes from joining a cycling club.

Mrs Miller told This Is Hampshire: “I was really interested to hear about the Breeze Basingstoke programme and the great work that it is doing to help more young women get involved in cycling for fun.

“The fact that Breeze Basingstoke and Bunnies Children’s Centre have combined resources to provide a crèche facility means that the programme is accessible to mums with pre-school children.”

The mother-of-three added: “I know from my own experience how enjoyable it is to be able to cycle together as a family and that is another benefit that the mums taking part in Breeze Basingstoke will be able to look forward to as their children get older.”

Breeze rides are specifically for women, and go at a gentle pace for beginners or those returning to cycling.

Breeze, which is part of Sky Ride, says that 54,000 more women are cycling now than six months ago, thanks in part to their initiatives.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on

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