Fresh air, fun and making friends - scheme makes cycling a breeze

One of the rides at the Brooksbank circuit, Elland
One of the rides at the Brooksbank circuit, Elland

For many women, taking that first step towards playing a sport or becoming active can feel like a minefield.

Barriers including fears over being judged for being the ‘wrong’ size, not being fit or skilled enough, as well as time, cost and a lack of confidence, can often stand in the way, say Sport England.

Here in Calderdale, the Breeze Bike network is working to break those barriers down and encourage every woman to get involved.

The network, which runs on a national level, was set up by British Cycling and works to inspire women to ride for fun and fitness.

Women and children’s rides, led by volunteers, run at least once a month in the borough and offer a welcoming environment for females who want to give cycling a go - no matter what their ability.

Breeze champion Corinne Kielty, of Ripponden, said: “It’s a safe environment for people who are nervous or people with no confidence.

“It’s really nice - it’s fresh air, fun and physical exercise. But there’s a social element too, everybody makes new friends.

“Some people come and do three to four miles and some people do 16 to 17 miles, but people can always progress.”

Corinne says the best thing about being a Breeze champion is seeing that progression.

She said: “People come to rides and can be really nervous, but all it takes is one ride, led by someone with confidence, and they gain confidence.

“Then they come back and tell you about all the adventures they have had.”

The Breeze Bike network in Calderdale has its own Facebook page, which you can visit at www.facebook.com/breezecalderdale.

Details of rides are posted there, as well as at www.letsride.co.uk.

Rides are usually held once a month at Brooksbank School’s circuit in Elland. When the weather improves, they are likely to become more regular.

You can still get involved even if you don’t have your own bike - they are available for you to hire.

How you can join our campaign

Through the Halifax Courier’s #sistersport campaign, we want to put the spotlight on groups or organisations encouraging females to become more active.

We want to encourage women across Calderdale and the wider West Yorkshire region, of any age, ability, skill or confidence level to give something a go.

Would you like to share your story of how joining in an activity has helped, inspired or improved your life no matter how big or small that change has been?

Would you like to promote your group, and encourage more women to get involved?

If so, then we would love to hear from you.

Please email some details to newsdesk@halifaxcourier.co.uk to share your stories and photos or call 01422 260209.