If you fancy getting a bit of exercise in the New Year and meeting some new people, why not take part in one of the free, guided bike rides on offer locally. Or if you have not been out on your bike for a while, sign up for some free cycle training or get a free basic bike maintenance check.
Guided bike rides for women
There is now a local Breeze group offering free social rides to small groups of women around west London and in January and February there is a special offer for Breeze riders – anyone taking part in four breeze rides will get a special goody bag.
Breeze rides are organised by local champions who are volunteers trained by British Cycling to lead small groups of up to eight women on short, social rides.
There are two local Breeze champions who offer guided bike rides a couple of times a month both on weekdays and weekends, usually covering distances of 10-15 miles, with longer rides of up to 30 miles during the summer months.
Ealing Breeze champion Helen Hayes said: “British Cycling launched Breeze rides to encourage more women to take up cycling. The rides are lovely social experiences and we deliberately choose quiet roads and off-road paths such as along the canal and through parks so that everyone has a chance to chat. It’s a great way to get some exercise, meet new people and see some lovely parts of west London.
“Rides are usually at a leisurely pace and the ride leader will make sure it isn’t too fast for anyone taking part. If you haven’t been on a bike for a while it’s also a good way of getting some practice and building your confidence.”
The national Breeze programme, which is sponsored by HSBC, was launched by British Cycling in 2012 to encourage more women to cycle, regardless of age and experience, because fewer women cycle. The programme aims to provide a supportive, non-competitive environment which will encourage more women to try cycling.
Rides for everyone
There are also regular guided bike rides for men and women organised by Ealing Cycling Campaign (ECC) . It hosts gentle, leisurely and speedy rides of varying lengths to suit cyclists of all abilities. Rides are free and there is no need to book in advance. ECC also organises a programme of family rides in the summer and hosts workshops for cyclists. Visit the Ealing Cycling Campaign website, which is regularly updated with details of all their events. The council also holds its own Ticket to Ride events each summer – details will be announced later in the spring.
Cannot cycle yet or do not feel confident on a bike?
Anyone who lives, works or studies in Ealing borough is entitled to free cycle training. The training is offered at locations across the borough and is tailored to the needs of the individual cyclist. Those who have never been on a bike before can learn to cycle for the first time, but the training is even suitable for more experienced cyclists who want to feel more confident in traffic for example. Do not worry if you do not have a bike – you can borrow one for the training.
No bike yet?
If you do not have a bike yet, you can borrow or buy a refurbished second-hand bike inexpensively through London Bike Hub or if you have a bike that you have not used in a while, take it along to a free Dr Bike event for a quick once over to make sure it is safe and get some free basic maintenance.
The council’s Get Moving campaign is encouraging people to be more physically active.