Breeze is an initiative from British Cycling that offers fun, free bike rides for women of all abilities. It was first launched in England in 2011, and since then, the programme has grown and is now available in both Scotland and Wales too and has delivered 80,000 Breeze rides, with over 380,000 women attending.
Why was Breeze first created?
In 2011, our insights showed that there were four times as many men cycling compared to women so we created Breeze to help close the gender gap.
We carried out extensive research with women as we wanted to find out what would motivate them to cycle, how they wanted to cycle and what the barriers were stopping them from cycling.
These do differ from person to person and communities, but we were able to spot several common themes for Breeze to tackle, including confidence, safety, social, emotional, fear of being judged, knowledge of where to ride and what to do if something went wrong.
Our research also strongly highlighted that not knowing what to expect and the fear of getting it wrong can cause a lack of confidence when getting ready to start something new.
To support these fears, Breeze knew it was important to provide all women who signed up to a ride with as much information as possible ahead of time, including things such: as what to bring, who their leader/s will be and what to expect on the day (which often includes a coffee and cake stop!).
A photo and contact details of their Breeze Champion is also provided, so not only will women recognise a friendly face when they turn up for the first time but there is also the opportunity to connect and ask any questions before the ride takes place.
The supportive and inclusive nature of women riding together with Breeze also alleviates very real barriers around safety while cycling e.g., not cycling alone and being part of a much larger and visible moving unit.
The social dynamic of groups also helps through women asking the same questions you have, forming friendships and emotional attachments where the bike becomes secondary to the activity and being part of something bigger.