Updated: Saturday, 25th November 2017 @ 8:08am

It's a Breeze: Manchester ladies encouraged to saddle up and pedal five-mile ride as part of British Cycling scheme

It's a Breeze: Manchester ladies encouraged to saddle up and pedal five-mile ride as part of British Cycling scheme

| By Steph Brawn

Women across Greater Manchester are being encouraged to swap armchairs for the saddle and pedal their way on a five-mile bike-themed treasure hunt aimed at getting more females into cycling.

British Cycling’s Breeze programme, now running for three and a half years, aims to get more women feeling confident and comfortable about being on a bike.

And on Sunday September 21 in Clarence Park in Bury, Breeze are running a five-mile bike ride as well as a treasure hunt, where parts of bikes will be hidden across various areas of Clarence Park, for participants to find and collect.

Briony Farrell, co-ordinator at Breeze, told MM: “The treasure hunt was created with women who have kids in mind. They can take their kids along and be a part of cycling whilst not having to leave their children."

Breeze have spoken to thousands of women about why they feel unsure about going on a bike which have included lack of time, not feeling safe and not knowing anyone to go cycling with.

“The events we organise are traffic free or on a quiet road and we all cycle together. It’s a chance for women to rock up, do something and then go home,” said Briony.

“It takes away all the anxiety women have about cycling as it is a friendly environment.”

Another reason that women have veered away from committing to cycling is due to having to purchase their own bike and the issues surrounding that.

But Breeze have set up a ‘female friendly’ bike scheme that allows women to recommend places to hire or buy a bike to each other.

Briony added: “We realise it’s a big commitment to buy a bike and so we do our best to direct people to the best places that women can feel welcome in.

“We know that some bike shops can feel heavily aimed at males and it can be intimidating.”

Transport for Greater Manchester will also be at the event to let riders know about their free cycle training and bike maintenance courses which Breeze hope will encourage women to keep cycling outside of their events.

Bolton Alternative Transport and Wheels for All are other organisations that will be on hand to offer advice and support to participants.

The bike ride and treasure hunt are being run as part of the ‘I will if you will’ scheme, set up by Sport England, which has been encouraging women to take part in several sports across the country. 

For every one woman cycling, there are three men and Sport England have put £2.3million into the campaign to try and turn this statistic around along with Breeze, who aim to have one million women on bikes by 2020.

“I like to think we are well on the way to achieving this goal, said Briony.

“We have 1,500 local women who lead these events in Bury and despite how we know the scheme is still growing, we feel it can continue to be very successful.” 

The Breeze Bury bike treasure hunt takes place on Sunday from 10am-2pm and is using the Twitter tag #getwomencycling.

Image courtesy of British Cycling, via YouTube, with thanks