“It gives you a sense of freedom. With the bike I can go anywhere I want.”
That is the spirit and ethos that Kattalin derives from cycling.
Originally from the Basque Country, but now happily settled with her family in Glasgow, Kattalin is a key part of our Breeze community.
But what is Breeze you may ask? Well Breeze is a cycling programme aimed at getting more women on bikes – simple as that. With guided rides all across Scotland, Breeze champions are trained volunteers who devise routes that are fun and inclusive. They make it easy for women to come together, ride their bikes (no matter if they’re fast or slow) and enjoy good conversation, both out on the road and often over coffee and cake in a café somewhere on route.
So why does Kattalin give up her time to be a Breeze Champion?
“It’s a really big project that is bigger than just yourself and we reach out to so many women, and the feedback we get is that it has changed their life – it’s freedom and it’s being part of a community that we all seem to love.”
Without wanting to sound too dramatic, she adds:
“Cycling makes things better for society as well.”
“I wasn’t born in Glasgow, but being part of Scottish Cycling and a Breeze volunteer gave me that opportunity to be part of a community. I’ve got to know lots of new people and also had the chance to make a difference to people’s lives – you’re teaching people who haven’t learned to cycle before or haven’t learned to cycle properly, and giving them that opportunity.”
But it’s a two way street, as she notes:
“Scottish Cycling have also invested in me, through providing training in first aid and coaching and there are always opportunities for us as volunteers. It’s not just teaching others, but they’re teaching us and expanding our knowledge.”
For Kattalin, it is evident that riding with like minded people is where she gets most enjoyment:
“Most of the time I cycle with other people, so it gives you a sense of being part of a community. You get to know people when you are on your bike – commuters cycling in the same places every day, or you form part of a group – I love the sense of community it brings.
“But cycling also reminds me of home, and many memories of where the bike can take you, at home or even on holidays.”
As she referenced, Kattalin also uses cycling as a mode of transport, whether it’s to work or popping to the local shop for some milk. Riding regularly, and with a group of people, gives her that confidence to use a bike more.
“It’s great. Cycling is also a very cheap way to move and a very sustainable way to move.”
Over the coming years we are all going to have to give more consideration to our own carbon footprint, and swapping the bike or bus for a journey by bike is a great way to do that. It’s also good for your physical and mental health, and saves you money – a no brainer really!
So, why not start that process today, by joining your local Breeze ride, or going down to your local club. Recreational rides are safe spaces, with a pace to suit everyone.
Alternatively, if you, like Kattalin, want to give something back, we’re always looking for new Breeze Champions, to pull together communities and lead rides. For more information on that contact [email protected]