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Mums and Tots bike rides get off to a great start - Breeze rides for women

   Words by Aaron Scott

   on 29/08/2013 18:46:00

We’ve recently launched a weekly organised bike ride for Mums and Tots.  The free rides are part of the Breeze Bike Rides campaign, organised by British Cycling. The campaign is aimed at getting more women out on bikes – but we like to be inclusive, so we welcome Dads and other carers, too!

Enjoying the lovely views near Normanton church, at Rutland Water.

Our Mums and Tots bike rides run every Friday from our Whitwell, Normanton or Fineshade centre. We meet at 10am and have a leisurely pedal for an hour, then get back in time for lunch – there’s loads of room for a picnic if the weather’s nice, or there are cafes and restaurants close by.

The excellent wooden kids' play area, where we finish our ride at Fineshade Wood.

As a recently-trained Breeze Champion (ride leader) and Mum to a 16-month-old girl, I was keen to organise rides that would encourage other parents to get (back) on a bike. I’ve always loved cycling, but I found it hard to get myself organised to go riding after having my daughter. I think it was partly time, partly motivation – it just seemed like too much of a logistical feat to organise the bike, the child seat, drinks and snacks, nappies, etc, etc. And I didn’t have anyone to ride with – which made it easier to put it off until “another day.”

The obligatory juice and biscuit stop!

Rutland Water and Fineshade Wood are great locations if you want to have a go at riding a bike with your child, either in a rear-mounted child seat or trailer (or even on a tag-a-long or trail-a-bike, when they’ve outgrown these). You can pedal for miles along quiet tracks with no traffic. Plus, you’ll have other parents to ride with, and the route all taken care of. What if you don’t have a bike or child seat? No problem – you can rent a bike, child seat and helmets from Rutland Cycling for a couple of hours, for the bargain price of £5. Or you can hire a bike and trail-a-bike or 2-child trailer for £10.

Taking a breather from cycling around Rutland Water

Apart from comparing favourably price-wise with Baby Yoga, hiring a bike is a handy option for a few reasons. It’ll get you out pedalling much quicker than if you had to organise yourself, your child, the route and all the necessary gear. You don’t have to worry about safety-checking your rusty old bike that’s sat in the garage for the last 2 years. You can try different types of bike and child-carrying options, to see which suits you best (many parents – especially Mums – are nervous about riding with a child trailer, but actually find them a very stable and easy ride, and great fun for the kids!). And – maybe best of all – you get to hand the bike back at the end for someone else to clean and put away, while you pop round the corner for an ice cream. Hooray!

On our first Friday, the day dawned bright and sunny…ok, cold and grey…and four eager parents and kids showed up at our Whitwell centre at 10am, ready to be fitted with bikes, child seats and trailers. As people started to arrive, so did the typical British Summer weather. Rain coats and waterproof trousers were the order of the day but spirits remained high, with tales of previous cycling exploits being swapped between participants. After both outfits and weather conditions had changed several times, we were all ready to start.

With most of the riders not having turned a pedal for a number of years, the first order of the day was a brief safety demo and some easy-to-digest tips on cycling technique. Having recently completed the excellent Breeze training course, I found I felt much more comfortable on my bike after the trainer took the time to discuss a few points about technique, so I wanted to make sure this was part of my ride briefing too.

As the ride got underway the rain started to ease and we breezed along the traffic-free trail around Rutland Water, following the water’s edge around the reservoir. The cries of “sheep” from all of the younger participants became a familiar sound as we passed many of the water’s permanent residents who cast enquiring glances at our procession of bikes and trailers.

The first couple of miles passed without incident and the ride reached its natural halfway point at Normanton Church, where everyone, including the nearby ducks, stopped for a snack break. Before long everyone was ready to set off again and start the return leg of the journey back along the dam wall. Thankfully the infamous headwind that can greet cyclists on the northern leg of the Rutland circuit didn’t raise its head and everyone glided along with relative ease.

Once back at the car park, it was gratifying to hear everyone talking enthusiastically about coming again next week, and how much easier than expected today had been. In fact, one Mum commented that it was “like being on holiday!”

Join our Mums and Tots rides

Our weekly Mums and Tots ride leaves Rutland Water or Fineshade Wood every Friday morning, starting at 10am. Dads and other carers are welcome too! Rides are at a leisurely pace, around 5 miles, and are suitable for all abilities.

Free to join with your own bike - or take advantage of our special reduced hire rates for Breeze rides:
Hire a bike, child seat (age 12mths to 4 yrs) and helmets for £5.
Hire a bike, 2-child trailer (age 18mths to 4 yrs) or trail-a-bike (age 4-6yrs) and helmets for £10

For more details and to register on a ride, email or call
01572 737 624.

Find out more about the Breeze campaign for women

The Breeze Bike Rides campaign has been launched by British Cycling, to encourage more women to get out cycling. We think it's an excellent campaign and several women in the Rutland Cycling team have trained as Breeze Champion volunteer ride leaders.

Find out more and join the Breeze Bike Rides campaign >

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