A grand day out. I think that sums up my day at the Great Manchester Cycle pretty well.

For some reason I woke up feeling very nervous. I should not have been... the distance isn't a problem as I'm used to covering those miles regularly in the Peak District and I'd arranged to have company for the ride with Becky, another Breeze champion. Perhaps it was the sheer volume of riders that was the issue. I'd never ridden with so many other people before.

Having read the pre-ride instructions (albeit the night before), I'd allowed plenty of time to get there and ended up being dropped off at the stadium with more than an hour to go. Traffic was starting to stream into the car parks and there were cyclists in abundance. I have to confess that as I waited in the Event Village sipping my coffee, I was feeling a bit intimidated. There were men everywhere, with a scattering of women. And yet that was the whole reason I was there.

I'm a volunteer champion with British Cycling's Breeze network, which aims to encourage more women to cycle and have fun cycling. It's also trying to bridge the gap between the number of male and female cyclists so I wanted to be there and show that it doesn't matter your gender, size or shape.

Having found Becky, we made our way to the British Cycling members meeting point, which was a real bonus. Not many people, lots of space, and right next to the start. I managed to catch a glimpse of the lovely Joanna Rowsell as she was being interviewed then we were taken to the start line to while away the remaining minutes.

As expected, with so many cyclists, it was “busy” to begin with but the riders soon spread out, enabling us to ride at a leisurely pace and natter on the way round. I now appreciate the appeal of cycling The Mancunian Way in all its grandeur. Indeed, it was a real pleasure to ride on traffic-free roads.

A visit to the feed station on both laps provided welcome sustenance including Soreen banana loaf and a top up of High 5 into my bottle and we were soon on the homeward leg.

All in all it was a really well organised event. Plenty of free parking close by, lots of marshals, feed stations and toilets (I didn't have to queue at the one in the car park at the end)! Oh, and it was a really nice touch announcing riders names as they approached the finish line. With goody bag in hand and reunited with my family, I was happy to have cycled 26 miles. Girl power!!!! Now who's going to join us next year?!