2020 Bikeability Awards – Provider of the Year Winner – Avanti Cycling

Your Stories

A national Bikeability award programme is held every year to reward and promote the amazing work that the Bikeability industry and trainees do.   Further background.

Bikeability providers, such as Avanti Cycling, work tirelessly to ensure that all their Bikeability training delivery in schools is of a consistent high-quality, their instructors are professional and they have excellent relationships with school representatives. The story of what Avanti Cycling has achieved helps to highlight what a contribution providers make and explains why Avanti Cycling is such a worthy winner of the Provider of the Year 2020 Award.

Avanti Cycling are dedicated to supporting children in gaining the maximum “real life” experience of making ‘The Journey’ and enjoying travelling by bicycle. They invest considerable resources into making this happen as follows:

  1. Their Level 2 exceeds the required national standard. It runs over 2 full school days and typically involves children riding 20kms.
  2. They try to get children’s own bikes working safely typically repairing over 50% of bikes for each course and often supplying free spares.  They also deliver free Dr Bike sessions in deprived schools.
  3. They offer a large pool of bikes; enabling more children to access Bikeability. In 2019 they provided over 200 children with loan bikes.
  4. They train 20% of children to Level 3, subsidising an additional Level 2 refresher day which provides total of 4 days of training to children.
  5. Their instructors are highly trained and passionate about cycling, with access to 6 to 7 free continued professional development training days per year.

Avanti Cycling’s key priority is to increase children’s cycling.  They provide matched funding support for a number of community initiatives; including a youth cycling club, cycling at a severe behavioural needs school with the aim of keeping young people engaged in cycling after Bikeability.

They believe that The Journey is at the heart of Bikeability – the more journeys children make during the course, the more realistic training is and the more they will continue to cycle post course. Their Bikeability training is therefore totally orientated round making journeys, facilitated by the 2018 standards.  The Journey is at the heart of their training programme with a four-day Level 2 / 3 courses allowing the instructors to fully explore real cycling giving children the opportunity to make the trip to their planned secondary school by bike.

Their  investment in their instructors at a variety of levels is significant. They offer extensive free professional development (over 6 days / year) which is all targeted at the child’s development of cycling journeys.  Encouraging instructors to develop The Journey aspect of the training; incorporating journeys into the training, discussing journeys and the reasons for them with the children.

They also fund School Liaison Officers who invest time in building relationships with teachers / parent groups. Avanti Cycling believes this is is key to getting a good uptake of Bikeability especially at Level 3,  and focus on The Journey aspect of Bikeability, encouraging participation in their Youth Bike Club.

They have invested in setting up a Youth Bike Club to support young people continuing cycling after Bikeability. The key is to ensure they enjoy riding their bikes by encouraging journeys, progressing Avanti Cycling’s vision of continuing cycling.

For them, Bikeability is the start of the process rather than the aim.

They are also a Recognised Delivery Centre, offering Bikeability instructor training.

Testimonial from a school:

I took over as PE coordinator 3 years ago, two years ago I noticed Geoffrey Field Junior School children out on bikes. I then received an email from Avanti, talking about opportunities for our pupils to have free Bikeability sessions. When I spoke to pupils in year 5 and 6 they were very excited, however at the time I felt parents were a little worried. In our first year we did not have huge uptake, but once other children saw the courses, the interest grew.

Last year we had:

  • 7 children (1 child with SEN, in our ASD resource) take part in the learn to ride sessions, these were after school. All children passed. 3 of these children went on to complete the level 1/2 course. For the after-school sessions, Avanti Cycling provided extra staff to support the children so they could be successful in learning to ride a bike.
  • 18 further children took part in the level 1/2 and completed it successfully.

We are hoping that all these children above will complete their level 3 course this year. This meant that just under half our year 5 cohort had passed level 1/2. We also had 14 Year 6 children take the advanced Level 3 course for the first time this had been run in the school. Several of them were complete beginners in Year 5 so it was great to see them move on through all the levels with support from Avanti!

Learning to ride a bike safely is so important, many of our children leave in year 6 and go to schools where they have to either ride a bike or take a bus. We had one of our past pupils, hit on the road by a car 2 years ago and this brought to the front of our minds the importance of riding safely.

The Avanti instructors are fantastic with the children, we have a high percentage of SEN children in our school, some of the courses have had a school member of staff go with them, but the majority of the time Avanti are able to manage the behaviour of the children successfully without needing any extra support, there have been occasions where they have brought in extra instructors to ensure the groups are successful and that the children are passing the courses.

It is great that Avanti are able to offer hire of a bike, at a very small cost, helmet hire is free, as this means the opportunity for more children is available even though they don’t own a bike. Also the Avanti instructors check all the bikes the children bring in themselves and have been able to make some repairs which were needed, to ensure the bikes were safe for the children to ride on.

As always in schools, timetabling events such as Bikeability can be difficult, however, they are so flexible with us, as we have not completely got the dates/structure of the courses in our heads, Avanti Cycling have been able to work with us to make sure we can get as many children as possible through the courses, but at the same time ensure that the dates work around us.

It has been a pleasure working with Avanti Cycling and all their staff and we look forward to continuing our partnership with them, developing it further so that we have as many as possible children complete the level 1&2 and move onto achieving the level 3 Bikeability award.

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