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Women’s cycling initiative turns four

An all-female cycling group celebrates its fourth anniversary this month with special cycle rides for everyone to get involved in

HSBC UK Breeze cyclists smiling their way through a blustery ride (Courtesy of She Cycles Wales)

An HSBC UK Breeze initiative that runs women-only bike rides is marking its fourth birthday this November by organising celebratory cycle rides for local women.

Leaders of the cycling sessions are commemorating the scheme’s anniversary by setting up birthday bike rides for female cyclists of all abilities.

The first anniversary bike rides took place earlier this month in Cardiff and Newport and two more have been planned in Carmarthenshire on 17 and 25 November.

The bike ride sessions were set up four years ago as a part of HSBC UK Breeze’s initiative to get more women and girls on their bikes.

Women of all ages and abilities are welcome on the cycle rides said Emma White, the participation officer for Welsh Cycling.

“The whole ethos of the Breeze rides is to encourage women to build their self-esteem,” said Emma, “it’s not just about improving cycling, it’s also about improving confidence, getting out and about and not being so isolated.”

Cyclists enjoy the view on one of November’s anniversary rides (Courtesy of She Cycles Wales)

Emma said more safe cycle trails are needed to encourage more women to cycle, “more trails would be fantastic” she said, “and better infrastructure would be great.”

According to a recent report by Bike Life in association with Sustrans, only 23% of women think cycling safety is good in Cardiff.

Bike Life aims to assess people’s cycling habits and the report explores the gender gap in cycling in seven UK cities.

The report found that 23% of women felt safe cycling in the dark compared to 36% of men surveyed.

Hilary May, one of HSBC UK Breeze’s group leaders, said that safety is a big concern for her: “Separated cycleways and designated routes would make it a lot easier for women to cycle,” she said.

The initiative is kept up to date via the HSBC UK Breeze website.

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