When we asked our HSBC UK Breeze community to tell us why they should win a visit from two-time Olympic champion Joanna Rowsell Shand, we thought we’d get some great entries. But we weren’t prepared for the terrific applications from groups across the country, who shared their personal stories, told us what Breeze meant to them, and outlined their plans for hosting rides with Joanna. Choosing just two was a tough call.
Joanna – who since retiring from professional cycling has become a Breeze Champion herself, regularly leading rides and inspiring women to get on their bikes – picked the final two winners, and joined both groups for rides to remember earlier this month.
Ride one: Newport, Shropshire
Joanna was overwhelmed by the “inspirational women” of this Shropshire-based Breeze group – and it’s not hard to see why. From two breast cancer survivors, to a mother who took up cycling to beat depression, to a woman who recently got on her bike 35 years after an accident, this is one remarkable group.
The 27 mile ride they planned in Joanna's honour included an ice cream farm, some llamas (or were they alpacas?), and a large quantity of cake. Breeze Champion Clare Chick had such a great day she penned this cracking blog about meeting one of her cycling heroes. Find out how they got on in our film of the day.
Ride two: Stevenage, Hertfordshire
The next day Joanna was off to Stevenage. “I chose this group," she told us, “because I LOVED their video entry – they put so much effort in.” (Want to see for yourself? Take a look here.)
The group took Joanna on a 20 mile loop of Stevenage, passing through some of the best green spaces in the area and finishing up at their ride regular, the Crooked Billet pub.
Joanna thoroughly enjoyed her rides with both groups – so congratulations to all of you, and thanks to everyone who entered. Let us know what you thought over on our Facebook page.