From Breezing Along in the UK to Cycle-Touring Across France
I loved being a volunteer leader for Breeze. It was just a few hours once a month and it gave me the structure I needed to get out of the house. I shouldn’t have needed an excuse to get out on my bike for two or three hours a month, but the truth is that I did.
Cycling with other people was great fun, like being a kid again. Women would turn up with all the gear and there was always a sense of giddiness and excitement as we worked up to getting started. That was the point of Breeze: to encourage women to cycle in a friendly environment where they could enjoy riding traffic-free routes at their own pace.
Enter super-gran, “My dad never let me get on a bike as a kid, because I was a girl, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do”. She then needed a quick “m” check on her shiny white bike and her helmet altered before I could give her a “crash” course in cycling. Fortunately, she was amazing and had a broad smile that lit up her face when she cycled. She gripped on to that bike for dear life and gave it her all, spinning like mad. A life-long ambition realised; super-gran was completely elated! Seeing that smile on her face felt pretty good for me too.
After leading rides for a year, I managed to go further and further afield, cycling to the start point and back home again. It was hard at times but as soon as I got on the bicycle, I was drifting away along the country lanes. Cycling once a month was a great escape. My only escape.
Ruth lives on the edge of Sheffield in a village in north-east Derbyshire. She didn’t choose to be a ride leader for Breeze because she was confident, she did it to commit time to cycling. Her life wasn’t very adventurous at that point, with the responsibilities of being a forty-something mum, teacher and wife being very demanding of her time and energy. Fortunately, she was about to re-discover herself and find a new sense of freedom. For Ruth, cycling brought new opportunities, a chance to daydream through fields of sunflowers and absorb the energy she had lost by bathing in nature.