A RIDING group in Horwich has launched a campaign to encourage people to get on their bikes in January and February.
The Horwich Ride Social campaign aims to help improve people’s mental and physical health through cycling.
Everyone is encouraged to give it a try, regardless of ability.
And the rides are all free, each also receiving a small bicycle gift.
Michelle Tonge, who set up the group with her husband Antony, said: “It’s a great opportunity for everyone to try and hang out.
“This includes those who may not feel confident and have already wanted to.
“It’s hard work, but we try to be fun and not take ourselves too seriously.
“The two hours are just your two hours where you can be whoever you want to be.”
The group was launched at the end of 2018 as the Breeze Horwich Club, after becoming champion of the UK cycling program the year before.
Michelle added, “I didn’t think it would develop so quickly in such a short time.
“It started with myself and four other women, and now we’re 15.”
Michelle said one of the main benefits is that it helps keep people fit while socializing, and the fact that it is exercise is all but forgotten.
The weather doesn’t stop classes either, unless there are good reasons.
There is a range of courses available, including women’s groups, men’s groups, and mixed groups, as well as themed rides.
Bike maintenance classes are also available, and someone will be there to help anyone who might be concerned at first.
The campaign was supported by Horwich Council, who donated a small amount of fundraising.
The volunteer-led group was also successful in its bid with Cycle UK for its Big Bike Revival campaign which takes place in March, encouraging women to ride bikes, especially those from ethnic minorities.
Anyone interested in getting involved does not need to be a member and can rent a bike for £ 5 or bring their own.
More information can be found at www.letsride.co.uk, where people can select the group and sign up for the most suitable ride.