Jess struggled to find a cycle club that appealed to her until she found Breeze women-only group rides which helped to increase her confidence and teach her new skills. She then trained as a ride leader and continues to promote and support cycling to new members.
Jess Walsh-Banks said…
“I started cycling seriously in 2014 mainly alone or with my husband who also cycled with a club. I wanted to do group cycling too but struggled to find a local club that wasn’t full of really fast men who I wouldn’t have kept up with!
“Eventually I found Breeze rides, which are accessible group rides run by female volunteers and for ladies only. I started riding weekly with other women all looking for the group riding experience without the pressure. After gaining so much more confidence on my bike and learning lots of new skills, I decided to train as a Breeze Ride leader myself.
“I wanted to help bring cycling to more ladies and absolutely love seeing the positive impact it has had on so many other women.
I get an incredible amount of satisfaction from seeing my Breeze ladies get the benefits of cycling. It’s not just the physical fitness element but also the social and mental wellbeing side of things.
“I get an incredible amount of satisfaction from seeing my Breeze ladies get the benefits of cycling, it’s not just the physical fitness element but also the social and mental wellbeing side of things.
“Learning self-reliance, feeling the empowering effect of doing things for yourself, things usually seen as male preserves like changing tyres and doing mechanical jobs on the bike. I think that has an incredible impact on improving confidence and self-esteem. These are all the things I have gained from cycling and I can’t imagine my life without it.”
Jess was nominated for the 100 Women in Cycling by many of her cycling friends.
Linda Perry said: “Jess is super organised and consistently plans out rides to encourage and give people the opportunity to cycle. Whether they are new to riding or experienced, there is something for everyone."
Another said: "Jess is kind and supportive to all members of the group whatever their experience. She gently helps each individual to challenge themselves in their riding and her sense of humour and fun is infectious. She has helped me gain confidence and experience with my riding."