national standards

For discussions within the Cycle Training profession.

national standards

Postby pops » 23 Jan 2007, 11:26pm

Is there any quality control on who can become a national standard instructor. When I did my training there was at least one person who was not competent on a bike - to the extent that she was nervous in fairly standard traffic and messed up going round a roundabout as a result.

Today I was teaching with a guy who was of the opinion that if there is a cycle path next to a road it was a legal requirement to use it, and that a fairly average A road out of the city that lots of people commute on was far too busy - he cycles on the pavement instead. At least one other I've taught with rides predominantly on the pavement too - I was a bit embarrassed riding back into town with him as he was going at a fair lick. It might be coincidence but both are from a mountain bike background = probably my predudice creeping in but might stir up an answer :wink:

I mean nice enough people but are they really up to instructing people on how to ride a bike in an urban area ?

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Re: national standards

Postby David » 24 Jan 2007, 7:50am

pops wrote:... At least one other I've taught with rides predominantly on the pavement too - I was a bit embarrassed riding back into town with him as he was going at a fair lick. ...

Was this because you were on the pavement with him too ?


Postby pops » 24 Jan 2007, 9:56am

Ha, no I was on the road and he was bombing down the pavement bunny hopping the kerbs at junctions, driveways etc.

I'm not too hardline about cycling on the pavement, I don't do it myself but I can understand why a novice might cycle slowly if there is a busy road, but for a cycling instructor to feel unsure in what was pretty average traffic just seems wrong.

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Postby keepontriking » 25 Jan 2007, 6:14pm

pops wrote: ...for a cycling instructor to feel unsure in what was pretty average traffic just seems wrong.

I've come across this too, although thankfully rarely.

All instructors should be competent at Level Three, yet it seems a very small number are not, and do become accredited. This can only be harmful to the status of training (and those responsible for accreditation). However, the vast majority I have come across are competent, experienced and professional, as befits the importance of the profession.

Any slackness could be tightened up, and perhaps regular update/development training for existing instructors could be made part of an ongoing accreditaion.

Perhaps it is now time for an independent professional body for Cycling Instructors?
Last edited by keepontriking on 24 Feb 2007, 10:51pm, edited 1 time in total.


Postby sbowler » 18 Feb 2007, 5:43pm

Cycling on todays busy roads can be very intimidating, helped very little by councils redisigning junctions and mini roundabouts that are extremely difficult for cyclist to navigate. I can see there points of view when coming up against these obsticles, and yet I dont agree with them being forced onto the pavements by inconsiderate traffic management schemes.
There are many areas of my local city, Wakefield, nr leeds that has areas of road which require great courage to negotiate.


Postby pops » 23 Feb 2007, 5:35pm

OK - but does it really require great courage - I know instructors who cycle on the pavement rather than ride on what I consider are fairly standard busy roads.

My point is the roads you consider require courage some of us may be quite happy to ride on. I live in a city and I can't think of any road I wouldn't cycle on and only the main dual carriageways that I would normally avoid, and even then I use them training in chain gangs etc - I don't think that would be an issue in training people at level 3 as I don't think there would be an expectation that they ride on major dual carriageways.

Paul Power
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Postby Paul Power » 24 Feb 2007, 5:31pm

I think where you have examples of cycle instructors not coming up to the required National Standards, then you're duty bound to take it up with the CTC or the school they work for.

Personally I haven't come across any of the people you describe in your post and those I trained with were more than competent. One trainee who joined our training group who had previously failed to be accreddited was told by the Instructors that she wasn't cut out to be a trainer so she didn't get accreddited.

So I'm somewhat surprised by your comments and really believe that rather than come on here giving our training a bad name with your allegations you give those in authority an opportunity to investigate you claims rather than rubbish a training programme that so many of us work very hard at delivering.

We take enormous pride in the training we deliver and it does concern me that anyone considering taking National Standards training will be put off by your claims that anyone regardless of their ability is being accreddited.

Paul Power


Postby pops » 25 Feb 2007, 1:15am

Well which bit do you doubt? I know of two national standard instructors that routinely ride on the pavement because they consider what most would consider standard routes into the city are too dangerous - these are roads used by plenty of commuter cyclists every day. I did my training in a group where at least two mentioned that they were worried by the traffic they were riding in while we were doing our level 3 trainer training - if they were worried by it how could they be expected to supervise others in similar traffic ?

If you think I'm going to inform on two people I know and like but fundamentally disagree with over this particular issue then you are wrong. I'd ask you this though - how many people have failed the course ?

If we are talking about delivering level 1 and probably even level 2 then all these people can probably do a good job - for level three though forget it.

Paul Power
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Postby Paul Power » 25 Feb 2007, 10:59am

It's not a question of my doubting anything.

The point I'm making is that you believe through your own experiences (as described in your post) that some instructors are being qualified as Instructors without being of a suitable standard then surely you should take this up with the school or organisation that trained them.

There's little point making your comments here, other than to cast doubt on the otherwise excellent training that is delivered by so many competent, capable instructors/cycling schools.

Were I come to across an Instructor who behaved in the way the one you describe does, then I would have no problem in voicing my concerns to whoever qualified/employed him.

We don't need incompetent instructors. So where bad practice exists, we should bring it to the attention of whoever is responsible for their accredditation/training.

Voicing your concerns here, which is essentially a public forum (not password protected for instructors) serves only to cast doubt on the hard work the rest of us are doing.

Paul Power


Postby pops » 25 Feb 2007, 12:59pm

I don't see it as my duty to protect the reputation of national standards teaching. I just flagged up what I thought was a point of some interest on a relevant forum.

Paul Power
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Postby Paul Power » 25 Feb 2007, 1:25pm

Whilst you may not see it as your duty to protect the reputation of National Standards training, as you put it. You're quite happy to cast doubt over the competence and credibility of the scheme's instructors. So you're okay with making comments that potentially damage the schemes reputation, but unwilling to do something positive to bring about improvement.

Sorry to hear that.

Paul Power


Postby pops » 25 Feb 2007, 1:50pm

<edited partly in response to moderator who felt the original reply was provocative>

Don't shoot the messenger. If you feel that these things are damaging to the scheme then I would ask what are you doing to make sure they stop happening ?

I have voiced my disagreement over pavement riding to the individuals concerned. I've posted my wider concerns on what I thought was a forum for discussion of such issues where relevant people might pick up those concerns. No I did not stand up at my national standards training and declare that I thought a couple of the group should fail - I don't think many people would do that. The people delivering the training were put in the unenviable position of having to deliver a pass of fail - perhaps a pass to teach level 1, 2 or 3 would have been better. I thought the training itself was of a high standard - but you can't teach people to deliver level 3 if they don't have the relevant cycle craft.

Paul Power
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Joined: 2 Feb 2007, 12:52pm

Postby Paul Power » 27 Feb 2007, 2:26pm

As I haven't personally experienced the things you describe in your original post, then I'm not in a position to bring to anyone's attention.

Whilst undertaking my Instructor training there was a trainee instructor who wasn't particularly confident in her own cycling. From what I gather this was her second time taking the training and accordingly the training school told her that she wasn't suitable. A decision which I'm sure all us would agree with.

Had the school Accreddited her, which they didn't, I certainly would have voiced my concerns something which in your example you don't for whatever reason feel is appropriate.

In all of your replies you ask what I am doing about this whole issue. I don't fully understand where you're coming from here as clearly if I haven't seen bad practice in evidence as you have, then I can hardly do much about it save for encouraging you to take your concerns up with whoever it is is responsible for training this sub-standard instructor.

Regards the upholding the repuation of the National Standards Training, I believe we all have a duty to ensure that those who decide to take this training get the best possible training, by the best possible instructors.

If we have an instructor in our school who isn't up to delivering this standard then they won't be working for us and I'll take the matter up with the CTC, and whatever organisation trained them to begin with.

Surely, we all have a duty to ensure that cycle training is up to the standard that those taking training will quiet rightly expect?

Paul Power


Postby pops » 27 Feb 2007, 4:59pm

I thought that by posting here I was bringing it to the attention of a wider audience.

I don't think it would have been appropriate as a trainee instructor to start commenting on the merits of fellow trainees when I myself was still being assessed.

Wendy C.

Postby Wendy C. » 27 Mar 2007, 11:44pm

The problem that Pops is talking about here, comes down to potential instructors that wouldn't be able to deliver level 3 because of their own inability to cycle competently and confidently to do so themselves .. there is a simple answer to that ...

In the not too distant future, Assistant Instructors are being introduced - these are people who can work along side an NSI running 6 of his/her own trainees in addition to the 6 or whatever of the NSIs at Level 1 and Level 2 ONLY ... at the same time and location as the NSI just to be sure there is no misunderstanding ....

Problem solved, unless someone comes back and corrects me on that one! There will be a shortened training course for the AIs to the one the NSIs do, I believe 2 days not 4 and that they too will then have to be monitored doing teaching practise.

Meanwhile, when people are having their schemes accredited as is the case now to run Bikeability courses, those who are not up to scratch will be helped to get there within reason and yes, we are to be monitored again as part of the accreditation process, delivering the goods which from what is being said here, is not a bad thing at all!!