bicycle training

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Re: bicycle training

Postby worthers » 15 May 2009, 10:39am

Vernon - excellent post.

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Re: bicycle training

Postby slugbike » 15 May 2009, 11:54am

Cycle training should not be left to parents to organise, it should be available to all. Kids whose parents can afford to sort out some training for little Emily to entertain her for a few hours probably aren't going to actually let her ride on the road afterwards anyway.

Whereas Chantel, down the road in the estate, her mum isn't going to pay for something like that to "entertain" her child, she can just go out on her bike with her mates on the road for free.

Cycle training needs to get to both of those extremes and all the ones in between. By organising it through school it becomes a normal thing to do, and most pupils would do it. However it needs to be done by a qualified trainer, rather than trying to get a teacher to fit it in around their other work.

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Re: bicycle training

Postby rbrian » 15 May 2009, 11:14pm

I had an hour a week of music lessons at school, at the end of which I could press play on a CD player, and not much else. Most of the kids in my class were not interested in music lessons, and it's hardly a necessary skill - but most of them, in my rural area, were interested in ways of getting out on their own, without having to rely on their parents or the one bus a week. If there is no time for bike training - and there wasn't in my school - how do they find time to try various instruments, and then get relegated to the triangle for an hour a week?
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Re: bicycle training

Postby vernon » 16 May 2009, 6:28pm

worthers wrote:Vernon - excellent post.

Thank you!

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Re: bicycle training

Postby essexman » 16 May 2009, 8:35pm

Bikeability has its own problems but its better than nothing.

I sincerely believe we cant afford not to do it. The benefits of cycling are so strong, but lets spell em out:
-Good for health (we are fat and lazy)
-Good for safety (we have practically the worst pedestrian and cycle safety in europe)
-Good for happiness (we have the most miserable children in Europe)
-Good for social mobility (social mobility is decreasing in this country)

Can we afford not to do this? I sympathise with teachers and trainers constraints, but that a problem with the current system not a reason to not do it at all.
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Re: bicycle training

Postby Speshact » 16 May 2009, 9:22pm

We have the misfortune to live in a society where the 'car is king' environment intimidates people from being physically active.

We promote, via car ads and Clarkson, the ideal of fast speed rather than fast journey.
The nimble bicycle, mountable outside your front door and parkable right by your destination, delivers the fastest journey for most of our day to day journeys - but only if we dare to use it.

Unsurprisingly, given the unforgiving environment, many people dare not and it requires confident, experienced and sensible cyclists who are good at teaching and have studied the subject in addition to having experience to teach cycling.

Believe me, there are a heck of a lot of drivers out there - school-run mums, bus drivers, mini-cab drivers and skip lorry drivers among them - who will absolutely not give a moment's thought or care to a group of 6 children in 'cyclist in training' hi-vis snaking between two instructors in hi-vis 'instructor' jackets.

They'll be texting, swearing, revving their engines, trying to force you to the gutter, overtaking and pulling in half-way down the snaking line - all the really dangerous and stupid things they'll do to you as an adult cyclist - to a bunch of 10 year olds under instruction.

Keeping the motons back and ensuring the kids have a positive experience demands real road mastery and strong assertiveness (but not aggressive) skills. Then teaching the kids how to position themselves and ride on the road, when many motorists clearly believe the kid's journey is of no importance compared to their own demands quite a lot of courage both of the kids and the instructor.

The National Standards training (aka Bikeability) is well thought through and most of the instructors I have met work to a very high standard. Pressure needs to be put on local authorities to invest in this properly (or provide Dutch standard laws, culture and infrastructure in which case it may not be necessary)

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Re: bicycle training

Postby Phil_Lee » 20 May 2009, 5:26pm

Having recently gone through the county council provided instructor training for their primary school cycle training scheme, I feel that the most important thing is to bring county schemes up to bikeability standards.
Sadly, kids are still being taught to gutter crawl, which becomes a self-reinforcing habit.
I have been using "vehicular cycling" methods as long as I can remember, and was delighted to find that it is now the recommended technique, but it seems too many councils are still promoting the attitude of cyclists being 2nd class road users, whose main responsibility is to stay out of the way of more important traffic.

I think it needs to be made an offence to offer training which falls below (or worse still, contradicts) national standards.