British Cycling's programme of fun and free rides for females has already helped 17k get on their bikes

Varnish and Armitstead back Breeze bike rides for women

Lizzie Armitstead and Jess Varnish have become British Cycling Breeze ambassadors.

Breeze launched in May 2011 aimed at proving women with free and fun opportunities to get them on bikes.

Led by women, for women, Breeze has already helped over 17,000 women feel confident and comfortable about going on a bike ride, British Cycling said, but Breeze has also trained and supported over 400 Breeze champions to deliver over 3,000 local bike rides in across England.

Olympic silver-medallist Lizzie Armitstead said: “Jess and I are encouraging as many women as possible to get on their bikes and go on a Breeze bike ride. Cycling is a big part of my life and I want as many women out there to experience the fun and social side of riding a bike.

“It’s not as scary as you think because Breeze is here to help you start your cycling journey. From advice on learning how to ride through to local bike rides, Breeze is fantastic and accessible.”

Breeze bike rides are local, friendly and informal. Majority of the rides are on traffic-free routes and are ideal for busy mums and anyone who hasn’t been on a bike for a while. The rides usually start or end at a local café, where cake and friendly natter is served in abundance. Designed to suit all ages and abilities, they are the perfect excuse to get out into the great outdoors and explore the local area on two wheels.

Jess Varnish said: “Cycling gives you a sense of freedom like nothing else. I’m proud to be involved in Breeze as it’s doing such a great job in breaking down the barriers and empowering women to get on their bikes.”

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