19 June 2012
2012 is set to be the best year to date for British women’s cycling, with the Great Britain Cycling Team poised for success at this summer’s Olympics and stars like Victoria Pendleton and Laura Trott bringing cycling to new audiences. But if current trends continue, Britain’s dominance could fade, as women and girls increasingly leave the bikes to the men.
Currently, three times as many men as women in Britain ride bikes, with just one in fifty women getting their feet on the pedals once a week or more. The Breeze network is working hard to change this across the country.
Studies also show that boys do more physical activity of all kinds than girls. Breeze is calling on mums to get back on their bikes on 23rd and 24th June with the Big Breeze Bike Ride.
Because if women - who make the majority of decisions about children’s activities - don’t ride bikes themselves, and perceive cycling as too dangerous or difficult, there is little hope of fostering the next generation of champions.
Bikes are used for just two in a hundred journeys in Britain compared to more than a quarter in the Netherlands and a fifth in Denmark. Breeze sees women as the key to unlocking this – instead of passing on fear to their daughters or sons, they want mums to share an enthusiasm for cycling. British Cycling, through Breeze and Bikeability, is the first organisation to join up the training of children with empowerment of mums.
Jill Puttnam, British Cycling’s National Operations Manager, explains,
“Studies show that forty per cent of kids would like to cycle to school, but only around one per cent actually does so. We believe that helping mums overcome their own lack of confidence on two wheels is key to raising the next generation of girls (and boys) who ride. And while we’d love to see another Victoria Pendleton or Laura Trott, this isn’t just about raising the next Olympic champion. Our goal is to see a generation of healthy and active young women who see bikes as much for them as for the men. Any woman can set up her own casual bike ride this coming weekend and be part of the Big Breeze Bike Ride. There’s nothing like freewheeling to remember why riding bikes is brilliant.”
Laura Trott explains why she’s supporting the idea.
“I’ve cycled since I was a child and have always loved the freedom it’s given me to go places. Riding my bike helps keep me in shape all year round and tones my whole body. Unfortunately I’m currently in the minority because a lot of girls have a fear factor about cycling, but once you’ve tried it you’ll never look back. The Big Breeze Bike Ride is a great opportunity to get that confidence on two wheels and have great fun with your friends. Girls – don’t miss out; make sure you get on your bike on 23/24 June!”
For more information on setting up or joining a Big Breeze Bike Ride, check out the app on our Facebook page.