I’m a Breeze Champion in South Birmingham and we have the most amazing group of ride leaders and regular riders who have been working together on our WhatsApp group to share our cycling achievements and to inspire each other to keep riding (within the restrictions) even though we aren't running our Breeze rides.
One of the ride leaders joined a webinar late last year to find out more about the Let’s Ride Through Winter campaign and shared it with rest of us. I’ve found it to be the perfect campaign to help encourage me to get on my winter riding gear and head out. What I really love about it though is not just my riding, it is looking on social media and the hashtag and seeing everyone else sharing their rides too!
I'd say that I was a fairly tough rider and normally commute in all weathers, but things changed after I gave birth to my second child, Elliott, in August. When I had my daughter, Imogen, I wasn't someone who did a lot of cycling, but I started to ride with her on my bike when she was a 9-month-old. In fact, it was her love of cycling after getting her first pedal bike at four is what drove me to become the cyclist I am today, a Breeze Champion and have a total career change.
This time around with Elliott I knew I wanted him to join us for family rides at a younger age, so I researched into getting a second-hand baby trailer. I’ll be honest - the trailer is brilliant, but boy is it a faff to get out the bike container, unfold it and
hook it up to my bike!
Let's Ride Through Winter made me want to share our little trailer adventures with others to show that any kind of cyclist can have fun, families with young babies can still have adventures, and busy mums who aren't as well-trained as Olympians and Paralympians can still be strong on a bike. It was really important to share that cycling in Birmingham doesn't have to be scary if you know the best routes to take.
I am also not afraid to mention my mental health. Cycling is my go-to therapy and certainly with lockdowns, home learning and a new baby it's not been easy. Some of my Let's Ride Through Winter rides have been on my own where it's just me and my bike working together at our speed finding a rhythm and the serenity that I was looking for. I have a happy place I ride to that looking at it would seem miles away from what people think of as Birmingham, but it's less than five miles from my door, riding there is always the way to lift my mood.
Cycling can offer so much to people who need an outlet. And I hope that I can continue to inspire more people to get on their bikes and discover the fun and freedom of cycling.
There is still time to get involved in Let's Ride Through Winter. Find out more here >