The Friends Life Women’s Tour isn’t just about elite sport, we also want to inspire more people to get out and about on their bikes and having fun.

And one of the main groups promoting getting more women on bikes is British Cycling’s Breeze network.

The Breeze team will be in the promo zone at ever Friends Life Women’s Tour stage so you can speak to them and find out more about how to get involved locally and get riding your bike.

But in the meantime if you want to find out more about Breeze and what it’s all about, read on.

Bike rides are a Breeze
Cycling is all about the unbridled joy of butterflies in your tummy and the wind in your face as you freewheel down a hill. It’s exciting and gives you a sense of freedom like nothing else. As interest in British women’s cycling reaches heights undreamt of only five years ago and cycling superstars like Laura Trott, Dame Sarah Storey and Lizzie Armitstead add an extra dose of girl power, British Cycling are leading the way in getting more women on their bikes for fun.

What is Breeze?
In May 2011, British Cycling set up a programme designed to tackle barriers facing women and provide as many fun and free opportunities to help them get back on their bikes. British Cycling’s Breeze is now the biggest programme ever to get more women riding their bikes for fun and they’re helping thousands more women feel confident and comfortable about going on a ride. With support from the National Lottery via Sport England’s Active Women’s fund and using the opinions of over 1,000 women to design an accessible programme for women – a local network of trained female Breeze champions was created to provide local opportunities for women.

Fast forward three years, British Cycling has trained over 1000 passionate and enthusiastic female volunteers to become Breeze champions to date. Who in turn have helped deliver over 9000 bike rides and inspired over 32,000 women and children to get involved. Following the end of Sport England and National Lottery funding partnership in March 2014, Breeze has been mainstreamed into British Cycling’s recreational cycling programmes, and is recognised as a major contributor to British Cycling’s Women’s Strategy, and the 2020 vision of getting one million more women on bikes.

Natalie Justice, Women’s Network Project Manager for British Cycling said: “Our Breeze champions are at the heart of everything we do and are a real inspiration to women in their local communities. Getting into cycling doesn’t have to be a daunting experience and our champions are there to support participants and start them on their cycling journey.”

No need for Lycra
Led by women, for women, Breeze bike rides are local, friendly and informal. Many of the rides take place on traffic-free routes and are ideal for busy mums and anyone who hasn’t been on a bike for a while. Rides usually start or end at a local café, where cake and friendly natter is served in abundance. Designed to suit all ages and abilities, they are the perfect excuse to get out into the great outdoors and explore the local area.

There really is something for everyone too. Lots of Breeze rides are open to women and their children – making them the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time together. Some participants who started off with an easy 3 mile Breeze ride have wanted to progress their cycling and cycle longer distances. Many rides have been developed to incorporate longer distances and more challenging terrains, of up to 50 miles, for those looking to take their passion for cycling to the next level.

Breeze stats
• We have trained over 1000 women to become Breeze champions since 2011
• 32,000 women and children have attended Breeze bike rides since 2011
• 9000 Breeze bike rides have taken place since 2011
• We’ve accredited 359 female-friendly bike shops
• 216 local authorities across England have active Breeze champions
• We’ve delivered over 100 Breeze champion training courses

For further information about British Cycling’s Breeze, visit letsride.co.uk/breeze