One of the massive blessings from having this blog, are some of the exciting opportunities that I have received as part of it. I would have never have signed myself up for a triathlon unless there had been that collaborative opportunity that came through as part of this blog. There are plenty of other things too. But one partnership coming up that I am really excited to be a part of, is with British Cycling and Breeze. Seeing our Olympic cycling success over the past few years has got many people into cycling. So it is the perfect time to get involved with British Cycling and all that it has to offer.
What is Breeze?
Through British Cycling there are some free rides, through the Breeze programme, all around the country for women. The aim is to help them get fit, have fun and enjoy cycling. It can be a bit daunting to get out cycling by yourself, especially if you haven’t been on a bike for a while. So it could be something that is worth looking into in your local area. But as it is for ‘normal’ women, rather than the next gold medal winner, I have been invited to become a Breeze champion, to lead some of these bike rides in my local area. It feels quite daunting, but still pretty exciting.
This past week I have been getting ready for my leadership course that will be at the weekend. I have a long way to go in terms of my fitness. But hopefully, this will give me the motivation to get out on a bike more and get fitter. It helps that summer is coming along soon too!
I chose my bike, Carrera Crossfire 2 women’s bike at Halfords, along with all my equipment and accessories like a cycling helmet, puncture repair kit, etc. I chose a hybrid bike as I am still at the beginning stage of things, so a proper road bike seems like it wouldn’t be the right fit for me just yet. It does feel like you need a lot of ‘stuff’ when it comes to cycling, though. But I haven’t had my own bike for literally over ten years, so it just seems like a lot when you have to get everything all at once.
I went out for my first ride a couple of nights ago. I wanted to get to grips with bike and the gears. I mean, it has 21 of them. Like, really?! So I was just getting used to what does what, if that makes sense?
But here are some things that I learnt from my first ride out:
- The Chain Coming Off Isn’t As Scary As I Thought
- At one point the chain on my bike came off and I did have a mild panic attack as I have just heard such horror stories about putting bike chains back on. But it was actually much simpler to sort than I thought it would. It only took a few seconds to put back on.
- Don’t Go In The Dark
- I made the mistake of going when it was just getting dark. I would not recommend that! Depth perception is a little trickier in the dark so it was a little awkward when there are parked cars on my side of the road and so on. So I’m glad my course a the weekend is all in the daylight! I’m sure it will be fine when I’m used to it all. But for now, daylight will be easier.
- Adjust Your Saddle Height
- I should have known this from my spinning instructor days. But getting the saddle right really does make a difference. I started with it quite high before I left, but quickly adjusted it to make it lower. I felt a little awkward and unsteady with it too high. But it was too low in the end and I was really feeling in my thighs. I think it is just down to confidence and feeling more comfortable getting on and off the bike. So next time I think I’ll be fine at the right height.
So generally I think that the first ride on the bike went fine. It just takes a little time to get used to the new bike. Because as I’ve said before, other than a triathlon a year ago, I have only been on fixed spin bikes for the past ten years. As I was by myself on the ride, I thought it was a little quite tough. I am certainly looking forward to meeting up with some like-minded women for rides going forward.
PS – love this video!
Have you ever heard of the Breeze cycling programme before? I hope you’ll enjoy following my journey over the coming months.
*My bike and accessories were gifted as part of this campaign. All opinions are my own.