With going on holiday, kids off from school and Easter, I hadn’t got round to updating you all about how my journey to become a Breeze Champion was going. The last post was about getting my bike and my first ride out solo. The next stop was attending the leadership course to see if I had the skills to become a ride leader, and that was back at the end of March, just before I went away on holiday.
I must admit, I was a little anxious about attending the course. I’m sure the course leader, Danielle, could attest to that as I got there about 45 minutes early! It was held up at a sports college near Wembley and I did not want to be that person that strolls in late. Another part of the course that got me a little anxious; riding out in the streets of London. Ha, I’m such a northerner!
Before the Course
One thing that I’m forgetting to mention is that you do need to sign up for the Level 1 Leadership course beforehand. You can do so online and you just need to give a little bit of information about yourself. The best part is that the course is completely free to you! I think that is an excellent motivator for people to get involved. Then you get confirmation about attending a couple of weeks before, as well as some online learning to do beforehand.
On the Day
On the day of the course, you do need your bike. I don’t have a bike rack just yet, but my bike’s front wheel is easy to clip off, so I just put my back seats down and it fit in my car no problem (BMW 3 Series). Two other people brought cars in bikes but the rest cycled to the course – I was impressed right from the start!
We went around to introduce each ourselves and a little bit about our cycling history, what we knew about Breeze, and if we had attended any rides before. I was a little bit more limited in my knowledge than others on the course, but on the whole, I wasn’t actually that far behind them which gave me a little boost. It was interesting to hear all of the other ladies’ stories and how they got into cycling, or why they wanted to be a ride leader. For some it was just a hobby, for others it was because they work with different youth groups and want to encourage cycling as part of that. A real variety from a real variety of women. It really was interesting to hear! But everyone was lovely and I don’t know what I was so nervous about.
There is a theory element of the course, as well as a practical side to it, of course. The morning started off with theory with the safety and risk assessments that come with being a ride leader. Some of it was common sense; some of it was things I hadn’t thought of before. So it was good to do it all and I took plenty of notes.
Next was into the playground which quite handily had a little road marked out on it. We started the session as if we were attending a ride and all of the bike checks to go through with people. It was good to remember the kind of things I would need to take with me as a ride leader, like a pump etc. We did a little assessment to see the ride layout that we would use and then had a quick little ride out. We then did some route planning for some imaginary groups, explaining why we chose the route that we did. I think I’ll quite like the planning part of it as I thought it was really interesting as there are all different things to consider. Plus, living in Surrey, there are lots of good cycle routes near to me.
We were out in the afternoon for around two hours, all leading a part of the ride. I was a little bit nervous before we started, as let’s face it, it is an assessment. But once we got cycling (and some other people went before me), it was all good. I used to teach spin classes a couple of years ago, and although I know they aren’t the same, I think I’m fairly good and motivating people and shouting commands! 😉
Luckily, we all passed! I was honestly so thrilled! The course leader I had was brilliant and the structure of how it all works was really clear and straightforward. I’m looking forward to getting my first aid passed off so that I can get planning a ride. Stay tuned for post number three…
*the post is part of a British Cycling Ambassadorship, but all opinions are my own.