Children continue to be at the heart of Bikeability, as we strive to achieve the Department for Transport’s ambition to offer every child cycle training.
We trained more than 140,390 children in the 2020/21 financial year. We reached more than 2100 children through our Innovation Fund projects, which were focused on children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Despite the continuing challenges of coronavirus, our instructors adapted to new ways of delivering cycle training to ensure trainee safety. From their first glides on a balance bike to tackling tricky junctions on the way to college, children of all ages continue to be inspired by our instructors each day.
Training families together
In 2021, we invested £1500 in training families together. When children and their grown-ups learn to cycle together, it opens up a world of opportunities for families. Whether they’re cycling to school or heading to the hills for an adventure, family cycle training with Bikeability gives families the confidence they need to get cycling.
“Our Family module is a fantastic addition to our Bikeability programme. We worked hard to create a module which both reassures parents and empowers children to cycle more. Often, children don’t cycle beyond their training because of the lack of confidence from the adults in their family. We developed the module and accompanying delivery guide to help instructors train the whole family. The Family module allows children to show their family their skills, as well as teach adults the skills required to cycle confidently on roads together”
Patrick Jarman, Development Manager
“We have been out on our bikes three times already and the boys are quoting our instructor’s tips and have remembered everything he told us. We are certainly cycling more safely and assertively.”
Jo, West Berkshire
“Although my children had completed the Bikeability course at school, I did not feel confident going on family bike rides myself. I jumped at the opportunity to attend a family Bikeability course so that we could enjoy bike rides as a family without any stress. Mary was a fantastic instructor. She was patient and explained well the dangers to look out for, as well as how best to ride as a family to ensure that we rode safely, confidently and mindfully of other road users.”
Protecting children’s mental health
At Bikeability, our focus is on more than just cycling. We help children lead active lives and empower them to take care of their mental health. We know cycling has a hugely positive impact on children’s mental health and in 2021, using quotes from children who had called Childline, we saw how much cycling can help children through challenging times.
“I always feel on edge and sometimes it leads to a panic attack. When I feel my anxiety getting worse, I go on a bike ride as it helps me to cope with my feelings.”
“I have started cycling and find that it relieves my symptoms and when I am cycling it feels good to be free from anxiety.”
“Sometimes I find it hard to concentrate so the only thing that helps me to cope is riding my bike because it frees my mind when I am finding it hard to concentrate on things.”
“The only time the arguments and shouting stops is when we all go on a bike ride together.”
Celebration of Bikeability
This year, we took our annual awards up a gear. The previously industry-focused event was rebranded and relaunched as the Celebration of Bikeability. The virtual social media celebration took place on 10 December, shining a light on all the wonderful people who make Bikeability happen.
The Celebration of Bikeability resulted in:
• 8 new award categories
• 149 nominations
• £3500 prize value from sponsors
• 55,830 social media reach
Our 8 winners were:
Trainee of the Year: Yousef Chowdhury
13 year old Yousef was keen to cycle to his secondary school but with no cycling infrastructure between home and school, the journey included a busy main road. Yousef’s mum asked Bikeability to help Yousef plan his route.
After refreshing his Level 1 and 2 skills, Yousef headed out on to the roads of Manchester with his instructor and was soon confidently riding to school. Now Yousef is an inspiration to his classmates and their families and is encouraging more people to cycle to school. He’s still riding to classes everyday – even in dark and wet weather!
School of the Year: Lea Forest Academy
Lea Forest Academy is an extremely proactive school, in a deprived area of Birmingham with a diverse student body. They work tirelessly to give every child the best start in life and their commitment to promoting cycling is no different. In the last two years they have ensured that every child has the opportunity to take part in Bikeability training.
The school organised their own bike to school week campaign, which launched with a Big Bike Revival and Community Bike Fix It session. More than 50 students’ and parents’ bikes were fixed, and the school opened up their gates for members of the community to come and get their bikes fixed for free. The school’s positive promotion and encouragement of cycling has helped increase the number of pupils cycling to school year on year