Breeze, the award-winning women’s cycling participation programme from British Cycling is coming to Scotland and Wales this autumn.
Breeze offers women flexible, safe, accessible and fun opportunities to ride a bike as well as training and support. The rides are organised by British Cycling trained local Breeze champions; female volunteers who lead the cycle rides, and aim to fit around busy work and family lives, they are free, friendly and open to women of all ages and abilities.
Georgina Harper, the National Development Manager for Welsh Cycling said: “It is an exciting time for cycling in Wales and we are pleased to be able to offer a participation pathway in Wales for women who simply want to ride their bike in the company of other women and led by female ride leaders.”
Funded in partnership by Sport Wales and British Cycling it will be run as a pilot in year one within Swansea, Cardiff, Newport and Monmouthshire and then subject to further funding will roll out nationally across Wales from autumn 2015.
Sport Wales CEO, 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.
“We have a strong evidence base behind us with our Active Adult survey telling us that more women want to be taking part in cycling activities more often, so we are responding to a known demand. We believe that through providing specific and targeted opportunities we can get Welsh women back on their bikes and enjoying the benefits of an active lifestyle.”
As part of the pilot, 60 Welsh Breeze champions will undergo training and receive support from the Breeze network.
British Cycling is also working closely with Scottish Cycling – and councils across the country – to develop a network of Breeze Champions similar to the one established in England since 2011. This has trained 1000 “Breeze champions” who have led over 12,000 bike rides for women.
The first Breeze Champion volunteer training course in Scotland was delivered ahead of the Commonwealth Games at the Glasgow Bike station in May, and was attended by 15 women passionate about getting more women into cycling.
More training courses are expected to take place throughout Scotland in the next 12 months.
Katie Archibald, who rides for the Great Britain Cycling Team and Team Scotland, 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.”
British Cycling’s director of recreation and partnerships, Stewart Kellett, said: “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.”
Scottish Cycling’s chief executive Craig Burn said:
“We are delighted that the Breeze programme has now launched in Scotland. The Breeze programme will complement the current work we are currently doing to improve cycling for women in Scotland at every level, whether as a sport, a recreation activity or as a sustainable means of transport.”
“Seeing the impact that the Breeze programme has had on women’s cycling in England, I have no doubt through our partnership with British Cycling and Local Authorities we will have similar success here in Scotland.”