Wiltshire Council’s Bikeability cycle training programme is seeking venues and instructors to help children and adults to learn to cycle safely on the road, as more people look to take to two wheels to ensure social distancing.
Bikeability is the government’s national cycle training programme, and is available for both children and adults with all levels of experience and any type of bicycle.
The programme is usually taught to school children, particularly Year 6, but due to COVID-19 around 1,300 children will have missed out on the training this year. The council is looking to make up this shortfall by recruiting more instructors and venues throughout the county to run and host the training.
Instructors must be at least 18 years old, be reasonably fit, and able to cycle confidently on a suitable roadworthy bike to Bikeability Level 3 standard. The role is paid, as instructors work as self-employed contractors, and people will be interviewed and asked to undertake a practical riding assessment.
In terms of venues to run the courses, any venue that has access to toilet facilities, a traffic-free car park or playground, and easy access to quiet roads, would be ideal.
To find out more about instructing or offering a venue, people should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cllr Bridget Wayman, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “Due to COVID-19, around 1,300 children will have missed out on this essential cycling training, so we’d really like to hear from any budding cycling instructors or venues in Wiltshire that could host the training, particularly over the summer holidays.
“We’d also like secondary schools to get involved where they can too, as many of the pupils that have missed out will be attending secondary school in September.
“We’re also looking to do more adult Bikeablity training, and we have applied for more funding to do so.
“Cycling is fun, healthy and good for the environment and it’s important people feel confident and are as safe as possible while doing it.”
Meanwhile, since the schools programme has been on hold during the past few months, one of the council’s Bikeability instructors, Symon, has been offering private Bikeability tuition for adults, independent of the council’s programme.
One of his clients, a lady named Becca, hadn’t ridden a bike since she was at school and didn’t own one. She had recently been made redundant, and thought she would like to get some cycling training. Over some weeks of training, Becca is now riding confidently on the roads, and her aim is to be able to cycle to work in Salisbury in the future.
Symon also spotted a bike that was being given away locally, and one of the council’s other instructors serviced it for free, and Symon gave it to Becca on her birthday. Through the contact she has also picked up the opportunity to apply for a temporary job.
Becca says: “Symon is an excellent instructor. He’s friendly, clear, concise and above all, patient! I'm really pleased to have been able to achieve Level 2 Bikeability and I look forward to starting Level 3 as soon as I'm able to.
“I'm thrilled to know that the scheme has taken off over the summer and that more and more are now benefitting from his instruction.
“When I contacted the council a few months ago about adult cycling lessons, I fully expected the answer to be ‘no’, or for it to be beyond my limited budget, as I was out of work and I didn't own a bike.
“For your colleagues to pass my details on to Symon and for him to agree to take me on, is just fantastic. Thank you very much to you and your team for all your help.”
To find out more about Bikeability, go to www.bikeability.org.uk
(Photo courtesy of The Bikeability Trust)