This week will see the milestone of 50,000 Cumbrian youngsters having received Bikeability cycle training at primary and secondary schools across the county.
Bikeability delivers a programme of training that develops practical cycling skills and understanding of how to cycle safely on a variety of different roads and terrains. Bikeability is funded by the Department for Transport and Cumbria County Council.
The council promotes cycling, scooting and walking to school as part of the Active Travel programme and all children have the opportunity to take part in a range of initiatives as part of this, including the annual ‘Walk to School Week,’ ‘Feet First,’ and ‘The Big Pedal.’
In Cumbria, the Bikeability programme is successfully delivered by Cyclewise and Eden Valley Sports Partnership and during the last 10 years, Cumbria has become one of the leading areas in the country for the uptake of Bikeability training. Each year, over 4,000 children in Cumbria receive training, and this will be delivered to another 4,336 young people in 2020-21, with £173,000 funding provided by the Department for Transport.
Bikeability training is offered at three levels, based on a child’s age and experience. Training begins with basic bike-handling in a controlled traffic-free environment, building up to then cycling under supervision on local roads. This gradual development helps children to manage a variety of traffic conditions on different types of roads and become confident cyclists.
The total number of children trained through the Bikeability programme since its launch in 2006 has now reached 3 million across the UK.
Judith Aris, Active Travel Officer at Cumbria County Council, said:
“Bikeability helps children to cycle with skill, knowledge and confidence and the training encourages dynamic thinking. We are lucky to have so many professional and dedicated instructors who are passionate about cycling and developing the skills and confidence our young people need. The programme is well received by schools, and parents value the training their children receive. They feel much more confident taking their children out cycling on the roads.”
Cyclewise Director and Bikeability trainer Richard Martin, said:
“We are delighted to have reached this magnificent milestone for Bikeability delivery in Cumbria on behalf of the county council. Given the geographical challenges to the region and the weather, we have shown that quality Bikeability training can be delivered and received by the fantastic Cumbrian schools we work with all year round. It’s a real privilege to teach our young people in Cumbria this vital life skill that will become increasingly important as we aim to go Carbon Neutral. We look forward to continuing this quality programme and thank all of our fabulous staff and schools for their commitment and support.”
More information on the Bikeability programme is available at www.bikeability.org.uk.