Cycle training in Swindon
This part of the website will help you find out about the wide variety of cycle training that is available today. From training children to take those first steps (or should it be “pedals”) on their bike to very advanced mountain bike riding. There are even courses to learn how to keep your bike in top condition.
In early years education, some children in Swindon are offered “balance bike” training. These are bikes without pedals that gives youngsters their first experience of balancing on a seat and propelling themselves forward. Research shows that children who ride them generally progress to riding pedal bikes independently at a much younger age than those who learn using stabilisers.
Parents can also get help and advice about helping their child to learn how to cycle at the British Cycling website https://www.readysetride.co.uk/.
Across the UK, the most popular form of cycle training at school today is Bikeability. This is the Government recommended and funded cycle training scheme. Bikeability training is delivered in most primary schools in Swindon. For more information on what is available call the school or speak to someone at Life Cycle UK
(If your primary school is in Wiltshire then they are probably able to offer Bikeability training for Year 6. For more information on what is available call the school or speak to someone at Wiltshire Road Safety)
It’s fun and gives children the skills and confidence to cycle in modern road conditions just as these Highworth children found out on their Level 2 bikeability course.
Level 1 teaches the basic, but necessary cycle control skills to ensure you can get on, pedal, balance, steer and stop your bike. It is generally done in a couple of hours on a site with no traffic (e.g a school playground).
Level 2 teaches the road skills necessary to ride on quiet low traffic condition roads. As you would expect it covers starting off, stopping, Right and Left Turns. Where applicable it will also include how to use cycle paths and cycle lanes crossroads and mini-roundabouts. On your course you will also learn how to check that your bike is safe, how to carry stuff safely on your bike and other stuff about lights and reflectors. You can expect a level 2 course to take between 6 and 8 hours. Typically a course will have 5 or 6 trainees to one instructor
Level 3 is there to equip cyclists to deal with any type of road that they are legally allowed to ride on. Generally you will work with an instructor on a 1:1 basis. With your help your instructor will assess your current level of ability. You will tell him about the real journeys you wish to make (ride to work, ride to the gym, ride to evening classes etc ) and then your instructor will explain and demonstrate how to negotiate the roads required. Typically you will ride these routes with the your instructor behind you helping you learn and gain the confidence you need to make these journeys on your own.
It is important to note that all Bikeability Instructors are keen regular cyclists who have been specially trained to deliver a National Standard of Cycle Training and to pass on their cycling experience to trainees.
To find out more about bikeability visit the Bikeability web site
Holiday Courses for Children
‘Life Cycle UK schedule Bikeability courses during each school holiday, to book a place, please go to https://www.lifecycleuk.org.uk/swindon-holiday-courses.
Many adults are now considering the benefits of cycling. If you’re thinking about dusting off that bike in the garage or buying a new one but are wary that you might not be ready for the road, the good news is that help is close to hand. Cycle training is available privately or through public courses.
“Learn to ride” – cycle drop-in
Call the Live Well hub for more details on 01793 465513 (office hours) to see whether these are scheduled.
“Cycling 4 Health”
The Community Health & Well-Being Team offer inclusive cycling sessions under their Cycling 4 Health programme. They welcome people over 16 years old, and cater for a wide range of abilities and have many adapted cycles to choose from.
* Due to staffing issues (March 2023), these sessions are currently suspended, but hope to be back soon. Check https://activeandinclusiveswindon.co.uk/ for details.
On-Road cycle training
Join a free on-road cycling course designed to give you the confidence to ride safely and confidently on local roads. You will learn about road positioning, turning, signalling and observation. It’s useful for anyone, no matter what your competence level is. All courses start from the County Ground Athletics Track and are led by an experienced Bikeability cycling instructor. Dates of future courses will be listed on the events section of the Swindon Travel Choices website.
Once you’re ready to pedal a bit further, there are free guided rides to enjoy. From “ladies only” rides courtesy of the Breeze leaders, to “Ride Social” routes that are short, safe and around the local area. There are even more challenging road rides, and mountain bike rides. The rides are all listed in one place – www.letsride.co.uk
Self Guided rides
You can enjoy the skills trails built by volunteers in Croft Country Park. There are two routes, Blue and red. The blue routes is a recommended starter and taster for those who have little or no off road experience whilst the red route offers some more tricky and difficult challenges.
The club also run various rides and taster sessions; these are posted on the Swindon MTB web site.
Look out for free courses offered by Bike shops at certain times of the year, such as National Bike Week. These are often listed on the Swindon Travel Choices website (events).
Swindon’s Mobile Cycle Medic runs “Basic home mechanics” day courses – visit his website for details.
Instructor and Professional Training
If you are interested in becoming a cycling instructor, there are several types of course available. The following organisations offer National Standard Instructor training courses:Wiltshire Road Safety,CTUK(in London), Life cycle(in Bristol), Kingston Council (Greater London), British Cycling (UK Wide).
Bike security marking
Whilst not “training”, it’s still useful to know that security marking of bikes takes place in Swindon. We list our bike marking sessions on the events page on this website, so keep checking regularly.