Seventeen new ride leaders from across Suffolk have been created through British Cycling Breeze Champions and Guided Ride Leaders courses held in September, as part of the legacy from the Women’s Tour.

The two courses were held in Haverhill and Felixstowe, the start and finish locations for this year’s AJ Bell Women’s Tour Suffolk stage on Saturday 9 October, won by newly-crowned UCI world road race champion Elisa Balsamo.

The British Cycling courses included on-line training followed by a day of cycle proficiency assessments with basic cycle maintenance including advice on changing an inner tube and repositioning a chain. Following on from this a certificated basic first aid course was also provided. The training has created 17 newly qualified volunteer ride leaders who can now develop their own cycle routes and encourage local residents to get on their bikes and cycle in their local community.

The courses were funded by Suffolk County Council and offered free of charge prior to the AJ Bell Women’s Tour’s visit.

In quotes

Jenny Parker, British Cycling Area Coordinator for Breeze & Guided Rides in East Anglia, said: “Breeze Champions provide rides for women only or women and children. Guided Ride Leaders offer mixed rides and family rides. By having a mix of leaders across the county we can hopefully offer places on rides to all sections of the community. Leaders are encouraged to offer rides for all abilities and we never leave anyone behind. Another aspect of all our rides is the ‘café stop’, some rides will have a stop halfway round the route others may have the stop at the end of the ride. This gives a chance for new riders to get to know one another and forge new friendships, this together with the exercise in the fresh air ensures that cycling is good for the body and mind, the café stop also supports local businesses.”

Cllr Andrew Reid, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Public Protection and Communities, said: “I’m delighted that as part of the legacy of the Women’s Tour, there are now even more opportunities for Suffolk Residents to get out on their bikes. We know the health and wellbeing benefits of activities like cycling and walking and initiatives like this one make it even easier to stay active and supports our ambition to become the most active county in England.”

AJ Bell Women’s Tour Race Director Mick Bennett, said“It is fantastic that Suffolk residents are going to benefit from the AJ Bell Women’s Tour having inspired more people to qualify as ride leaders.  I would like to congratulate everyone that qualified and thank them for playing their part in leaving behind a legacy from this year’s final stage of the AJ Bell Women’s Tour that will enable more people to enjoy cycling.”

Suffolk residents can find details of rides near them by visiting letsride.co.uk. Here they can create an account and book a free place on a ride. They can also message the ride leader with any questions about the ride by using the “conversation” button when looking at the ride details. Another way of finding rides is via the British Cycling website.