"We were given lots of knowledge about how to ride and stay safe. I've never ridden 11 miles before and I enjoyed every minute."
That was a review from a participant on one of our recent Breeze rides and perhaps says everything about why becoming a Breeze Champion is one of the best things I've done as a cyclist.
It's four years since a group of us sat nervously in a village hall, waiting to begin our Breeze training. That 'classroom' feeling at the start of the day transported me straight back to double maths on a Tuesday afternoon, wondering if I'd ever understand quadratic equations. At the root of it was the same uncertainty: What am I doing here? Am I good enough? Will anyone ever explain what those numbers mean?
Fortunately, in this instance at least, I WAS good enough. And nobody asked me to do difficult sums.
Since that day, our merry band of riders has covered countless miles (OK, probably somebody could count them. Not me, obviously) and consumed our own weight in cake.
We've welcomed women who haven't been on a bike for years and those who want to work towards ambitious cycling goals. I've watched nervous novices become confident cyclists, happy to encourage others following in their tyre tracks. I've been proud to see our participants go on to ride coast-to-coast, Lands End to John O'Groats and more. Indeed, some of our riders have become ride leaders themselves.
It's another kind of rider that makes it most worthwhile for me, though. I'm there for the women who, without the companionship of Breeze, would be completely excluded from cycling. I'm there for the women who worry that they're going to be last, or lost, or left behind. I'm there for the women who think they're not good enough.
Because we are.
We're all good enough. We are all worth a place on the roads - they're our roads too. We can have our adventures; our flying, swooping, descents. We can laugh, sing and sometimes swear on our bicycles. We can slog up hills and have our breath taken away by the views at the top. We can feel our bodies growing stronger while we pedal ourselves happy.
I'm the Breeze Champion at the back. I won't worry about being last, lost or left behind. This Girl Can (and so can you).
For information about Breeze rides in your area visit Let's ride
Our Breeze rides take place in and around Newport, Shropshire. To see if we are coming to a cake shop near you, find us on Facebook by searching for Breeze Newport Shropshire.
|All the colours of a rainbow on a rainy day|
|A spooky Halloween Breeze ride|
|Breezing through lavender fields on a sunny afternoon|
|Cafes, cakes and companionship|