Cycling advocate Heidi Yates is encouraging people to discover the freedom of taking to two wheels as she takes up the role of British Cycling community developer at Cherwell.
Published: Wednesday, 19th October 2022
As Cherwell District Council cranks up its partnership with the sport’s national governing body, Heidi says she looks forward to working with local schools to help develop their resources and make cycling more accessible for children and young people, as well as delivering inclusive activities like Breeze Rides for women.
Heidi said: “From a young age I have loved riding my bike because of the freedom it gives me to go wherever I want. I got my first road bike through the Cycle to Work scheme and my love for cycling grew even more when I took part in the 100-mile Broughton Castle Sportive and then got into racing triathlon and in time trials.
“Research shows that participation in cycling is not as high amongst women and people from minority ethnic backgrounds as it should be. We want to break down those barriers so that more people have the chance to enjoy the fun, the fitness and mental health benefits that cycling in all its forms offers.”
Heidi competed in the world triathlon championships Chicago in 2015 and people can experience her spin classes every week at Spiceball Leisure Centre in Banbury.
She got more involved in the local road cycling scene when COVID restrictions put her triathlon racing on pause and she joined Banbury Star Cyclists’ Club.
Over the years she’s drawn inspiration from her parents who are both triathletes, with her mum Kim Shaw having won medals for Great Britain in the European and World Triathlon Championships.
Heidi added: “Whether it’s the excitement of exploring your limits and seeing how fast you can go, or simply getting to the top of a hill and seeing an amazing new view, we want everyone to have the chance to explore what cycling can do for them.”
Join Heidi for a Breeze Ride
Heidi is inviting local women to join her and fellow Breeze Champion, Katherine Daniels, on two Breeze Rides, which are gentle expeditions designed to help women build their confidence on the road.
Women attending should have their own road or hybrid bikes, and the group will take in scenic local routes at no more than 13mph.
The ride leaders are on hand to help with navigation as well as to assist with any quick mechanical issues with the bikes.
The Breeze Rides are being run in collaboration with Banbury Star and take place on Saturday 22 October, setting out from People’s Park in Banbury.
To find out more and register, visit the British Cycling website and enter your postcode www.letsride.co.uk/breeze
Get Ready to Ride, at Lock29
Heidi is also encouraging local people to bring their bikes to Lock29 on Friday 28 October. Members of the public can get their bikes security tagged, free of charge, by Thames Valley Police.
They can also get free routine repairs done by a trained mechanic, courtesy of the Dr Bike service. The initiative aims to help people overcome common mechanical problems and let them ride off in style. Spare parts like brake and gear cables, brake pads and inner tubes are all laid on, at no cost to the cyclist.
There will also be a chance for young children to practice on balance bikes courtesy of the council’s friendly Youth Activators.
The event takes place outside Lock29 at Castle Quay on 28 October from 12 – 4pm.
How to take part
- Register for Dr Bike sessions using this link.
- Women aged 16+ are invited to register for the 14-mile Breeze Ride using this link.
- Women aged 16+ are invited to register for the 25-mile Breeze Ride using this link.