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.
Local Authorities and SGO Host Schools are dedicated to ensuring that as much Bikeability training as possible is delivered in their area and that the delivery is promoted to, and supported by the local community. They also provide essential support for, and communication between themselves, providers, instructors as well as schools. The story of the role Wokingham Borough Council plays in the delivery of Bikeability training highlights what a contribution this sector makes and explains why Wokingham Borough Council is such a worthy Winner of the Local Authority/SGO Host School Partner of the Year 2020 Award.
Wokingham Borough is fully supportive of Bikeability with strong Councillor backing. Bikeability meets the Council’s wider objectives to reduce congestion, improve local air quality, increase activity levels and is vital in the Council’s efforts to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.
Bikeability is delivered as part of their My Journey Wokingham programme which aims to change travel behaviours through active and sustainable travel. Their successes with Bikeability include:
- 100% of the borough’s primary/junior schools receiving Bikeability training (Years 5/6 2019/20)
- An average of 80% (1600) of year 6 children taking part in Bikeability Level 1/2/3 training (2019/20)
- 45% growth in level 3 training (2018/19-2019/20)
- Targeting new schools with only younger children with Bikeability Balance, Bikeability Learn to Ride and Level 1 courses.
- Training 250+ children per year in Bikeability Learn to Ride, with 78% of children riding independently in just 2 sessions (with 83 grant-funded places).
- Regularly adapting sessions to include SEND provision.
My Journey Wokingham seeks to overcome barriers to cycling. Wokingham BC start children cycling at a young age, increasing the uptake of Bikeability. Weekly Balance Bike Clubs (age 2-4) are run at local bike hubs and attended by an average of 30 children each week. There are several children as young as 3 years progressing to riding pedal bikes competently. They also run Bikeability holiday courses (Levels1/2/3), targeting home-educated, privately schooled and SEND children. Where children or adults lack access to bikes or helmets we can loan these or provide refurbished bikes free of charge.
They partner with Cycle Experience to deliver term-time courses, working closely with their instructors and attending shared CPD days. They also meet their Regional Manager termly to ensure smooth running of courses. My Journey Wokinghampromotes Bikeability through schools, holiday courses, social media feeds and press releases.
Beyond Bikeability Wokingham BC continue the culture of safe cycling for children into adulthood.
Cycling after Bikeability is a priority for My Journey Wokingham. Their website www.MyJourneywokingham.com/events and social media are used to reach a wide audience, promoting cycling knowledge, successes, events and Bikeability courses.
Initiatives to create a culture of cycling include:
- Developing a network of off-road “Greenways” suitable for cycling
- Led family bike rides
- Transition rides to secondary schools
- Women only led rides to increase confidence cycling with their children
- Adult cycle training for beginners and improvers; and adult Bikeability Level 3.
- Over 60s led rides and training courses, delivered in partnership with their sports and leisure team’s “SHINE” programme
- Bikeability courses specifically for children with ASD/Autism
- Inclusive Cycling sessions for adults with special needs/disabilities (including Bikeability Level 1/Level 2 training.)
- Regular Doctor bike events throughout the borough
- Basic bike maintenance courses
- Try-out Cycling Roadshows and Bike Bonanzas (in school holidays) – with a variety of bikes and cycling activities to try and NSI instructors available to help.
- Workplace events and lunchtime rides
- Their big Family event – The annual Wokingham Bikeathon. 672 people participated in the 2019 Bikeathon, with a choice of a 15 mile or 35 mile route. The ages of participants ranged from 5 years – 80 years and included a total of 174 young people under the age of 16.
My Journey Wokingham also employs 2 Schools Officers to work with schools towards Modeshift STARS school awards. Several schools have demonstrated excellence in supporting cycling and walking to school and have achieved Bronze & Silver Modeshift awards for reducing the percentage of children travelling to school by car. 2 schools are currently working towards Gold Modeshift awards.
Wokingham BC has a unique way to fund additional Bikeability places through My Journey Wokingham. Developer funding is provided for new homes constructed in the borough to promote active and sustainable travel, including the provision of Bikeability training.
Cycle Experience were able to support Sadie Stoddard, a year 6 pupil at Winnersh Primary School in Wokingham to achieve Bikeability Level 2. Sadie and her family have been asked to become ambassadors for the Bikeability Trust, where they will help spread the importance of giving children access to Bikeability. Sadie’s story was published on the Bikeability website, as well as receiving local press coverage.
The My Journey Wokingham team runs Bikeability Learn to Ride and Bikeability Level 1 holiday courses specifically for children with high-functioning autism.
Woky Wheels for All
Weekly inclusive cycling sessions for adults with physical and learning disabilities are run at the Finchampstead bike hub. In Autumn 2019, all of the participants took part in Bikeability Level 1 training and a group of them are currently enjoying Bikeability Level 2 training.
Some quotes from Woky Wheels 4 All participants:
Dean: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this session, I feel more confident using a two wheel bike. The staff who run the session are so helpful.”
Thomas: “As a member of the bike group, I’m feeling more confidence to get on my bike as a hobby. It is a great way to get fit.”
Robyn and Holly (Robyn’s carer): “I enjoy Woky wheels for all, I love cycling around the woods and seeing the animals and nature. I enjoy the fresh air and the exercise.
Nick: ”I always look forward to cycling with Woky wheels 4 all and enjoy it so much. It has helped me with my mobility needs and given me the confidence to believe in my abilities and enjoy exercising with friends despite my pain and disability.”
Bikes, Big Trucks & You Project
Bikes, Big Trucks & You is a partnership between Royal Mail and Berkshire local authorities, addressing the significant increase in risk to child cyclists as they transition into secondary education and independent travel; especially around HGVs. The project is delivered as a 2 hour session for Years 5 or 6, after the children have attended a Bikeability Level 1/Level 2 course.
The Royal Mail supply the truck and 3 staff, whilst the My Journey Wokingham team deliver a classroom session at the beginning of the day, then assist with the practical workshops or “Zones” based around the truck. Every child gets the opportunity to sit in the driver’s seat and look in the mirrors to see if their classmates are visible in various different zones.
Evaluation has shown that children who have attended this project have a much better understanding of driver blind spots and the issues of cycling near big trucks or other long vehicles and this prepares them well for Bikeability Level 3 training.
“I just wanted to email and say thank you for the Big Truck Day. The children thoroughly enjoyed it and staff felt it was incredibly beneficial to run especially for our children who have recently had their Bikeability course. Please pass our thanks onto all your staff – they were great with the children and very knowledgeable!”
Amy Woods, Year 6 teacher, Hawkedon Primary School
Quotes from parents/participants
Subject: Bikeability Learn to Ride
“I just wanted to say again how brilliant this Bikeability Learn to Ride class was. Poppy (age 5) is now a fully-fledged cyclist! She has been out every day since and is loving it. Thanks to all the staff.” Fay Knight
Subject: Bikeability – how it really helped us….
“My daughter has autism and ADHD, without the support from the Bikeability instructors she would never have learnt to ride a bike. The instructors were patient, they supported her, gave her confidence and made it fun to learn to ride. We can’t believe how quickly she was able to ride independently within the lessons. My husband and I would never have been able to achieve the same results.” Anne-Marie Lansley
Subject: Re: Bikeability Level 1 course
“What a phenomenal session was my daughters reply! Thank you to the team.” Kym Stacey
Subject: Adult beginner cycle training
“Just wanted to pass on my thanks to the Cycling instructor last Saturday, she had me up and cycling in no time and I’ve since bought my own bike and helmet. I was nervous but the instructor put me at ease very quickly.” Brendan Meachen
Subject: Adult Bikeability Level 3 training
“Although an experienced cyclist, I found the Level 3 Bikeability course has given me added confidence when cycling in busy areas. Rather than feel intimidated by traffic, I learnt that it is important to position myself correctly on the road and to ensure that drivers are aware of me and my intentions. I believe I now ride with more assurance and more safely. I think all cyclists should do this course!” Susie Holdsworth
Send us Your Story