British cycling’s flagship women’s participation initiative, HSBC UK Breeze, has hit the 250,000 riders milestone, the governing body announced.
Launched in June 2011, the initiative provides women across the country with the opportunity to get our on their bikes on free, women-only rides led by female volunteers named ‘Breeze Champions’. The programme is recognised as the biggest ever designed to get more women riding bikes.
British Cycling is attempting to encourage one million more women to cycle by 2020 as part of its attempts to narrow and eventually close the historic gender gap within cycling.
Julie Harrington, British Cycling’s Chief Executive, said: “HSBC UK Breeze continues to go from strength to strength, and for us to be celebrating the 2500,000th participant as we mark the initiative’s eighth birthday is fantastic. It’s hard to over-estimate just how many women have been inspired to get back on their bikes – or even cycle for the first time – through the programme and our quite wonderful Breeze Champions.
“We know through our own research that many barriers still exist which prevent some women from taking up cycling, and we will continue to work relentlessly in this area. However, this milestone at grassroots level, coupled with fantastic elite showcases such as this week’s OVO Energy Women’s Tour, show the progress that is being made.”
The 2019 edition of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour is ongoing, which offers the same prize money structure as the men’s equivalent, and to mark Breeze’s milestone, Breeze Champions will be leading out Stage Four from Warwick’s Market Square.
Luke Harper, HSBC UK’s Head of British Cycling Partnership, added: “We are delighted that HSBC Breeze has attracted over 250,000 participants across the country – testament to the inspiring work done over the past eight years to make this the biggest programme for getting women on their bikes in the country.
“The initiative has had a fantastic response, and encouraging our colleagues, communities and customers to get out on their bikes, for free, is what our partnership with British Cycling is all about. There are so many benefits to riding a bike – from physical and mental health, to the environment.”
Taking place across the country, HSBC UK Breeze rides are completely free to attend and are suitable for all levels of riding. Further details can be found here.