Thursday, 25 October 2012

Teaching New Cyclists

Keep it in your pannier!

Can you remember when you first learned how ride a bicycle? My first experience seems to have been erased from my memory. I can only assume that I must have been born with the knowledge of how to pedal from the day I was born! Unfortunately not everyone has my luck and there are many people who have never had the opportunity to learn to ride, or did so when they were young and have now forgotton.

If you know anyone who wants to cycle but they don't know how to or where to start then do not fear because Cycle Training UK is here! Oh yes, of course you remember when I first introduced you to this friendly organisation earlier this month. They gave me a much needed cycle training session to brush up on my bicycle moves.

Continuing my 'cycle training theme' which is emerging of late (I am a safety queen don't you know), it is only right to introduce you to a handy little guide called 'Teaching New Cyclists'. This guide offers a helping hand (or push!) for those who want to show they friends/ colleagues / loved ones / children how to start travelling on two wheels without hitting the ground (much).

One thing I love about this guide is that it is for everyone of all ages. Learning to ride a bicycle when you are an adult is nothing to be embaressed about so don't be afraid to get up to speed!

The pages are scattered with pictures of both children and adults learning to cycle. I have also discovered that someone who learned to ride when they were young but have now forgotten is called  a 'false beginner'. This is because,
' never forget to ride a bicycle. According to neuroscientists, once you have learnt to balance the technique is forever encoded in your brain!'

Each section of the guide covers the different stages of teaching someone to cycle, from pushing the bike to balancing and making the bike go. It even contains the Bikeability Riding Syllabus so you can guide the person you are helping to become a fully fledged confident cyclist (just don't show them the Lycra section in Evans Cycles - you don't want to put them off!)

Now that the nation is going crazy for cycling, it is your duty as a cyclist to keep an eye out for those who are mere chicks to the world of two wheels and who may want to learn how to ride a bike for the first time! Who knows...a new learner may one day they may become just like Victoria Pendleton or Bradley Wiggens, but not Lance Armstrong please.

Have you ever tried teaching someone how to ride?


bikemapper said...

I took my cycle proficiency test whilst I was at junior school, but it was only when I went to secondary school that I started using the bike for utility purposes. Actually my school was some distance away, so I had to cycle to the station, get on a train, and then cycle again at the other end. And they say children these days are growing up so fast!

'Twas ever thus, perhaps. After all, everything is all relative, isn't it? Talking of which, what do you think of this:

"Cycling has been neglected by council policies for too long. Motor traffic has increased to such an extent that many people who would cycle now feel that the roads are too dangerous. Whilst millions of pounds have been spent on planning and providing for cars, nothing at all has been done to encourage what is the healthiest, most efficient and safest method of personal transport, apart from walking."

Does that sound about right? Astonishingly, it was written in 1978! The Alternative DfT has blogged about it, and he wondered, if he could go back in time and speak to the people then, what would he tell them to do differently?

This prompted the following response:

"Maybe the time traveller could give them one piece of advice over what not to do:

1979 also welcomes the new adult training group. Many people cycled when they were young but feel unsure in city traffic. The group will run training sessions on urban cycling.

"The alliance of cycle campaigning with the concept of training people to cycle in car-oriented streets as they stand, as a pragmatic, temporary strategy, though not intrinsically bad, led to a permanent “get-out” for the authorities that contributed to decades of near-stasis. [...] That’s the part of it that, in hindsight, I’d advise the campaigners of 1979 to ditch. Don’t compromise on the concept that bikes SHOULD NOT be sharing the roads with fast, heavy traffic by buying into the idea of training cyclists for those conditions as any sort of solution whatever, even a temporary one. That’s not the same as rejecting all cycle training, but it’s rejecting one concept that never helped."


Just a couple more things. The link I gave you to the petition website last time I commented didn't work properly. Sorry about that. You can access it by clicking here. Also, I cam across a rather catchy song about bicycles by Sue Denim. The video features, in the background, at the start and at 1 minute 14 seconds, an earlier version of the London Cycle Map. Oh yeah. I am mixing it with the pop stars now! Click here to see the video.

anniebikes said...

Thank you. "Never too old to Learn" - How appropriate!

Floora said...

Fabulous video! Even gives you advice on how to mend a puncture! Take note, Jemma :o) Nice little song as well.

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