Over 100 women benefited from a series of Women’s Cycle Evenings across Hampshire recently, enjoying the relaxed atmosphere, and coming away armed with an array of new skills and greater awareness of bike types, parts, and accessories, and doing some hands-on repairs and maintenance.
The evenings were coordinated by Energise Me Women’s Cycling Coordinator Ruth Crawford, and planned and promoted in partnership with the local Breeze Network Champions and local bike shops in their areas.
“It’s been tremendously successful, and really catered for a range of needs” said Ruth. “We did some survey work in advance, and some women had said that they were too intimidated to even go into any bike shop so we needed to address that by offering a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere and encouraging more experienced ladies to bring a friend, and Champions to bring their participants.
A huge number wanted demonstrations hands on experience of puncture-fixing, as well as learning more about their bikes and how to care for them, as well as de-mystifying the huge range of bike options, accessories, and clothing types. So that’s what we did.”
Evenings at Sylvester Cycles (Farnborough), Hargroves Cycles (Winchester and Southampton), Abbotts Ann Cycles (Andover), and Pedal Heaven (Fleet) were soon fully booked, with the local bike shops offering refreshments on arrival, friendly introductions, break-out workshops and a chance to ask lots of questions. There was also the opportunity to shop with a range of discounts, and with close interaction with the knowledgeable staff, so attendees knew what they were buying was actually what they needed, and so far the feedback has been really positive:
“I may stand a chance of mending a puncture now !! Very informative evening – thank you!” – Workshop attendee.
“Thank you for organising this evening. Those I spoke to really enjoyed it. Everyone learned a lot and felt comfortable asking questions, however trivial. We would love to be able to do this again in the future. The evening has been a huge step forward for the way that bike shops are perceived.” – Local Breeze Champion.
“Thanks for a good evening last night. It was great to meet you all and although I’ve mended my fair share of punctures and fiddled with bikes a bit I came away having learned something new which is always a great thing! The hands on mending punctures was great and I know that actually being able to have a go makes all the difference. Really worthwhile. I would also like to try and encourage some of the mums at my club to get involved with Breeze as I’m sure there are many who are keen. I’ll certainly pass on the info you gave me.” – Workshop attendee.
“For the long term, we want women to feel comfortable in their local bike shops, and for the bike shops and staff to have the local insight into ‘what women want’” added Ruth. “The Breeze initiative and led rides are excellent, and by upskilling the participants, it both helps out the leaders, and also will enable all the women to ride with more confidence at other times, on their own, or with friends or family, secure in the knowledge they will be able to deal with the inevitable puncture when it arrives! They become more assertive, independent, and hopefully will enjoy their cycling even more.”
For more information on the projcet please contact;
Ruth CrawfordWomen's Cycling Coordinator & Running Development Officer Call 01962 firstname.lastname@example.org