Jacqui Seaton had’t ridden a bike for 20 years. Now she is an avid member of a local women-only bike rides group that has been good for her heart in more ways than one.
By Jacqui Seaton, HSBC UK Breeze Champion
It was March 2016. I hadn’t been on a bike for years when a friend announced that the time had come to sell his wife’s bike. His wife had died in Severn Hospice in September 2012 and had been a close friend of mine. I couldn’t bear to see her bike go to a stranger, so that’s where my journey began.
Needless to say, getting back on my bike was daunting. My last bike ride, about 20 years earlier, had ended with me and my bike in a canal! I needed a safe environment to build my confidence on the roads.
I did some research and discovered HSBC UK Breeze ride. Breeze rides are fun, free bike rides – as well as plenty of support and inspiration – for women of all abilities across the UK. They are all about inspiring women to ride for fun and fitness. It doesn’t matter about your cycling ability because Breeze caters for everyone. Whether you want to cycle 10 miles or 100 miles, there are rides out there for all abilities. It felt like a safe place to start.
I loved it!
My first Breeze ride encouraged me to do more. Before I knew it I was regularly signing up for Breeze rides and started getting out there on my own. My confidence grew so much that in October 2016 I was ready for a challenge. I decided that I was going to cycle from London to Paris in aid of Severn Hospice.
I trained through the winter in my garage on a turbo-trainer. When I arrived in London in April 2017 I didn’t know anyone who was joining me, but that soon changed. I can honestly say that I had one of the best experiences of my life.
I met some really inspirational people on that ride, and made friendships that will last a lifetime. I can’t remember laughing so much for years! It was an experience that I’ll never forget, and I raised over £2,100 for Severn Hospice along the way.
After returning from Paris, I trained to become an HSBC UK Breeze Champion myself. This means that I can now lead the rides that inspired me so much when I first started.
Cycling offers so many benefits. It has a positive impact on both your physical and mental wellbeing and it’s great for weight loss and improving fitness too. It’s a sociable sport so you’ll make lots of new friends and have a great excuse to visit the many lovely coffee shops that we have in Telford!
There is an established group of Breeze Champions in the Telford and Wrekin area. Most of our rides start and finish in Newport at the moment, but in the coming months there will be rides starting and finishing in Telford. You can find out about Breeze rides and what’s going on in your local area by visiting the Breeze website. Keep an eye on this site because new rides are being uploaded all the time.
Be warned though, cycling can be quite addictive. Last year I cycled over 5200 miles and I loved every single one of them. I just need to cycle a little further this year!