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.
5 minute walk zones
Five Minute Walk Zones aim to encourage children and families to walk for at least part of their journey to and from school. They increase opportunities for healthy exercise, reduce traffic and congestion around the school gate and improve the local environment for the whole community.
A zone around each school is measured and mapped by pupils, and publicised to parents and families by way of a map leaflet, banners outside the school, and special events. In most cases the zone is also marked out by easily identifiable stickers on lamp columns.
Families who live in, or near the zone are encouraged to walk or cycle to and from school every day, while those with longer journeys who choose to drive are asked to park safely outside the zone and to walk the last five minutes of their journey.