On your bikes, Trowbridge ladies

This Is Wiltshire: Trowbridge Breeze bike rides for women group members, from left, Sandra Hares, Hannah Eaton and Ellie Guest Trowbridge Breeze bike rides for women group members, from left, Sandra Hares, Hannah Eaton and Ellie Guest

With New Year resolutions fresh in everyone’s minds, a new cycling initiative is growing in Trowbridge to help women get fit through cycling.

Breeze is a British Cycling programme that encourages women to ride bikes for fun and helps them gain more confidence and skills in riding.

Volunteer Breeze champions organise and lead fun, social and local, women-only bike rides in an attempt to pass on their passion for cycling.

Hannah Eaton, 30, of Silver Street Lane in Trowbridge, became a Breeze champion this year after completing the Rider Leaders course with British Cycling.

This led her to compete in duathlons and cycloraces, laps of a short course featuring pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and obstacles requiring the rider to quickly dismount, carry the bike while navigating the obstruction and remount.

The John of Gaunt science teacher said: “I love cycling, as does my husband, and I ride to work many mornings, weather permitting.

“This is a countrywide scheme we want to introduce to Wiltshire, from easy rides along the tow path to road rides for women who are really into their bikes.”

British Cycling claims that three times more men than women ride a bike, but Mrs Eaton, mother to one-year-old Amelie, said she wanted to change that.

She explains: “The profile of cycling has been raised with Laura Trott and Victoria Pendleton, but it is still male orientated.

“Women think they don’t have the right kit or don’t belong to a club, but that is not the case. Cycling is a brilliant way to see parts of Wiltshire you don’t get to see from a car and it is a really good way to socialise. We plan trips around a cafe stop so people can have a drink and chat.”

Although Mrs Eaton has organised a few rides this year, she hopes to raise the initiative’s profile and provide cycling opportunities that cater for everyone’s needs.

She said: “We want to push it now because people have had bikes as Christmas gifts or have New Year resolutions of trying to get fit and this is a good way to do it.”

Breeze champions take a maximum of eight people on a ride but can increase their numbers by joining with another Breeze champion. Ideally participants will need their own bikes and Breeze champions run through maintenance checks before setting out. See www.facebook.com/ BreezeNetworkWestWiltshire

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