British Cycling’s Breeze network is the biggest programme ever to get more women into riding bikes for fun. Breeze rider Caroline Foreman shows us how biking has benefitted her life, losing over five stone and biking her way to a happier life.
When Caroline Foreman turned 40 last year, it was a milestone occasion that prompted her into some soul searching. Unhealthy, overweight and unhappy for some time, Caroline decided she couldn’t continue with her sedentary lifestyle.
“I was a big lady so not all exercise was ideal, or even doable,’ Caroline says.
“I’ve always had a bike though,” and in 2014 Caroline decided to head out on a few local riders by herself.
“It was just three or four miles at first, but it felt amazing after not being out on a bike for so many years… I really couldn’t believe what I’d been missing!”
Caroline started to realise that while cycling on her own was fun, it would be even more fun to find some friends to cycle with too.
“It was then that I found out about the Warwickshire Breeze Challenge Event.
“100km would really be a challenge, but I wanted to take it on and prove to myself that I could do it!”
“On the morning of the event I was so nervous but excited too.
“It was just amazing to see so many other women cyclists all of different abilities, ages, shapes and sizes.
“Coming over the finish line was amazing and I had to stop and think “yes that was me that just cycled that distance!”
Caroline reflects on the dramatic changes to her life, and credits cycling with playing a major part.
“Cycling has helped get mentally strong, which has in turn helped me battle and beat depression. I’ve lost over five stone so far, and I have so much more confidence in myself and my new hobby. I never thought cycling could be for me, I always viewed it as something for the mega-fit, but I just tried it and never looked back.”
Following a fantastic Women’s Tour, British Cycling is delighted to launch #WeRide week, an initiative highlighting the vast range of opportunities available to women who wish to get involved in the sport.
British Cycling’s #WeRide strategy was launched in March 2013 with the target of getting one million more women cycling regularly by 2020. A two year update published earlier this month showed that the strategy is on track with 254,000 more women now cycling, but with work still to be done to reach the one million target.
There are a number of inspirational women already out there working and taking part in the sport and we’ll be highlighting some of those case studies throughout the week.
- Yvonne Mills – Getting more women running the sport
- Rachel Aldred – Campaigning and commuting for safer roads
- Nicky Hawker – Creating opportunities to ride and race
- Marian Lauder/Alex Russell - More women getting involved in governing the sport
- Aileen Brown – Increasing female membership
- Monica Eden – Creating a pathway that keeps women engaged
British Cycling also has a number of activities taking place during #WeRide week for any women looking to take their first steps into the sport, whether someone wants to race, coach, volunteer or get involved in race organisation - check them out here.