Woohoo – I’m now a Breeze Champion!

15 Mar

Today was all about the cycling…

A little while ago, I found out that I didn’t get a place in Ride London, which was a little disappointing, but I think I’ve already overcommitted myself this year, so I’m not too upset!

Rejection from Ride London

Rejection from Ride London

Anyway, I’ve been trying to cut back on my commitments, but I love to make the most of the opportunities that I am presented with in life, so when I received an email from Southampton City Council advertising free places on a Breeze Ride Leader course, I jumped at the chance. After filling in some application forms, I was accepted, so today I went on the course.

I had to choose which of my two bikes to use – my road bike or my hybrid. My hybrid seemed like the most appropriate choice, but it won’t go on the roof rack of the car, so I would have to cycle to the venue, ride around all day and then cycle home, whereas my road bike could go on the roof of the car, so I would only need to do the day’s cycling. In the end, I chose the latter option as I’m still feeling tired and don’t want to wear myself out ahead of tomorrow’s duathlon.

My choice of bike meant that I also needed to decide which clothes to wear. I opted for my Wiggle Honda kit combined with my Pearl Izumi jacket, but realised that I had made a bit of a mistake when I arrived and each of the women I spoke to made a comment about me looking professional – oops.

There was a wide range of women on the course from some serious cyclists to some ladies who haven’t been cycling very long themselves. his meant that there were also a range of bikes to look at. The one that caught my attention most was a three-wheeler Nihola from Denmark.

The course was a mix of theory in the classroom and practical sessions outside. I’ve never ridden two-abreast in a tight group before, so that was an interesting new experience, but I can see how it is safer for all of the cyclists in the group. unfortunately, many car drivers don’t realise that it’s legal. I was relieved to learn that as a Ride Leader, I’m not expected to be able to deal with everyone else’s technical malfunctions. In the afternoon, we split into two groups and took it in turns to lead. The main leader is at the back, which can be quite challenging, especially when the group is quite large.

Overall, I learned some useful skills on the course and will now try to get myself onto a first aid course so that I can lead rides on my own if I want to. I would also like to meet up with some other Breeze champions, so that I can pair up with someone else to lead rides.

Ride Leadership certificate

Ride Leadership certificate

If you’re a keen cyclist, you have probably heard of ‘The Rules’ by the Velominati: http://www.velominati.com/the-rules Rule #5 is perhaps the best known (‘Harden the f**k up’!) I quite like this rebuttal: http://kolotc.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/the-rules/

I also love this old Pathe video about safety when cycling:

Here is today’s IDEAfit photo a day image is on the theme of ‘Nourish’ – I think my healthy lunch goes with that topic:

Finally, here’s some motivation from Erin:

Erin soas

Wise words from Erin.


2 Responses to “Woohoo – I’m now a Breeze Champion!”

  1. Anne 08/03/2016 at 2:24 pm #

    Hi tamsyn

    I’m looking to do a breeze champion course in April 2016. Just wondering what level of fitness is needed as I’ve been off bike for 1yr due too pregnancy, missed out last year as fell pregs before course date and h&s wouldn’t allow me 😦

    • tamsynsmith 08/03/2016 at 3:16 pm #

      Hi! Please don’t worry about fitness levels. We spent most of the day in the classroom and the first bit of riding was with a partner in the car park, so that wasn’t too strenuous! There were about 12-16 of us who took part in the course… And only 3 of us had road bikes. The other two ladies were quite competitive, whereas I only had my road bike as I had been ill, so had to drive the short distance to the course with my bike and I’m not strong enough to lift my hybrid onto the roof of the car! One of the ladies had one of those fantastic three wheeled bikes with a box for her children on the front. She was a great cyclist, but her bike was very heavy, so she wasn’t speedy.

      We went out on the bikes in two groups and I don’t think we were out for more than an hour. I don’t think we did more than 12 miles/20k… And probably did less than that.

      Of course, part of the training is about helping get people into cycling and dealing with mixed ability groups, so there’s no way you could be left behind. Also, there are frequent stops, so that everyone takes a turn to lead, so you’ll have a chance to take a breather 🙂

      I’d recommend arriving early, so that you can discuss your worries with the course tutor… But I’m sure there won’t be a problem.

      Good luck and enjoy it!

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