in celebration of Mother’s Day, we spoke to Hattie, who was inspired to train as a Breeze Champion by her mum Jools.
My earliest memories of cycling, strangely, are on a three-wheel bike I used to have called Pickle. I don’t think I was nearly as enthusiastic as you may expect from a now keen cyclist! It just shows that with me starting at 20, and Jools (Mum) starting at around 50, there’s no age limit on when you can start cycling.
My first Breeze ride was with Jools, when she had recently become a Breeze Champion in East Yorkshire. I remember not really knowing much about Breeze, or how a big group of cyclists going out riding together would work in practice. Of course it did work, and I got chatting to all the lovely ladies who came along on the ride and thoroughly enjoyed it.
After moving to London and enduring the daily underground commute, I just bit the bullet and decided to start cycling to work. It was seven miles, so it was certainly a challenge, but I soon got the hang of it and haven't stopped since.
I was surprised at how much better I felt at work and in the evenings having exercised so much. The benefits weren’t just related to fitness, but the positive impact on the environment and enjoying the outdoors. I think that’s so crucial in a world where people spend their lives staring at their phones and sitting at computer screens. I truly believe cycling can transform lives, as it has mine.
The next step for me was to try and encourage anybody else I could to get out on their bikes too, and what better way than to train as a Breeze Champion!
The Breeze Champion training course wasn’t what I expected, in the sense that it was very interactive – we all chatted about each issue, so it wasn’t like being sat in a lecture or sat in school.
I met some lovely women on the course and the course tutors were very encouraging. Even if one of us made a mistake, they turned it into a positive way of learning. They taught us to have a very calm mindset; no matter what happens or what may go wrong, it’s fine. Just take a breath and sort it out.
I now can’t wait to start planning some Breeze rides in London. After many Saturdays exploring the city I know some lovely rides, as well as places to stop en route. I want to show people how brilliant cycling in London can be. You just need to build up your confidence on the roads, but you soon get the hang of it.