What is Breeze?
Breeze is a program coordinated by Cycling Victoria (CV). The program has already established a network of women's bunch rides across Victoria, led by women. Breeze Rides leaders must be female and are provided with free AustCycle Teacher training (which allows for insurance coverage during rides), membership to CV, as well as support and networking opportunities to help establish women's only bunch rides in their local area.
As of September 2013 there are 30 active ride leaders with several other people currently in the process of becoming a leader.
Cycling Victoria hopes to establish a ride network in Victoria involving over 1,000 women in the next twelve months!
How did Breeze come about?
Cycling Victoria received funding from Sport and Recreation Victoria under their Women in Sport and Recreation (WISAR) program. The idea was influenced by an existing program in the UK and also from the experiences of women in Victoria who have successfully established women's bunch rides in Warragul, Ocean Grove, Portland and St Kilda. The program aims to help introduce women to the social and safety benefits of bunch riding, while developing confidence and skills on the bike and on the road. The focus on leadership in cycling is intended to provide additional pathways for women to become more involved in the sport at all levels, including future representation at the committee and boardroom level. Our aims are high, but we believe there is a real potential to achieve them and introduce the sport of cycling to 50% of the population.
The women's bunch rides will be aimed at women starting out in cycling, with policies to leave 'no rider behind'. The social aspect, including coffee, will be just as important as the ride itself.
Why is the program important?
Cycling is the 5th most popular sporting activity in Australia, yet only 18% of Cycling Victoria members are female. Cycling is a flexible and fun activity that can be undertaken as part of a busy lifestyle.
There are many barriers that prevent women from cycling and joining their local cycling clubs. Some involve the perceived risks with riding on the road, while others indicate a lack of confidence to join in a male-dominated environment which has an image of speed and serious fitness. Breeze is intended to break down these perceptions and help show how much fun cycling can be.