British Cycling is today launching a new initiative aimed at increasing the number of women involved in cycling.
Named Breeze, the initiative has set a target of 80,000 women participants in it's first three years and represents a new community-based approach to increasing cycling numbers.
Its structure is based on British Cycling-trained ‘Cycling Champion' organising rides for novices in their areas, and developing local women's cycling communities.
The Breeze Women's Network Project Manager, Natalie Justice, told Cycling Weekly "we want to create a network that is run by women, for women - locally. The idea is to get new people on a bike, equipping them and helping them with accessing equipment if necessary."
"We're trying to tap into the fact that women want to ride socially with other women," she continued. "We're trying to close the ‘cycling gap' [the gap between male and female participation]. Of the 80,000 we aim to get involved in the programme, the aim is for 20,000 of them to become regular cyclists."
One thousand Cycling Champions will be trained by British Cycling over the coming weeks. Their locally-organised rides will be uploaded onto the Breeze central website, easily accessible to prospective cyclists.
The first Breeze ride will take place towards the end of June, and British Cycling hopes that each Cycling Champion will organise fourteen rides per year, involving an average of eight women in each.
The initiative has been partly funded by Sport England. Ms Justice told CW that this is the first time that the funding body has provided such a large amount of funding to a programme of this sort.
The Breeze website can be accessed at www.goskyride.com/breeze.
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