Thousands of school pupils across Northamptonshire will discover the joys of cycling thanks to the Bikeability training programme.
Bikeability is an updated version of the cycling proficiency scheme many parents may be familiar with from their childhood.
The scheme is aimed at Reception class-aged primary school pupils, who can learn the basics of balance, up to Year 9 students who can develop skills in relatively complex traffic situations such as negotiating roundabouts.
Commissioned by Northamptonshire County Council and Northamptonshire Highways, the programme is paid for from Department for Transport grant funding and is delivered by Outspoken Training, whose contract has just been renewed.
In the financial year 2017-2018 more than 4,100 pupils from about 200 schools received training across the county.
Cllr Ian Morris, county council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said:
“This is a wonderful scheme that allows children to develop their cycling skills gradually to a level that will equip them for travelling independently and in safety.
“As well as the safety benefits there are other advantages including increased physical fitness as well as environmental benefits such as reduced air pollution through a reduction in the dependence of cars.”
Kieron McNab from Outspoken Training, said: “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to continue enthusing and equipping the next generation of Northamptonshire cyclists with the skills, knowledge and understanding to ride more. It is a pleasure working with Northamptonshire Highways and over 200 schools throughout the county to bring the joy of cycling to even more pupils.”
Training is delivered in different categories:
Level 1 – aimed at Year 3 and Year 4 – playground based to improve confidence
Level 2 – aimed at Year 5 and Year 6 – training on local roads
Level 3 – aimed at Year 6 to Year 9 – training on more complex roads
Balance – Reception aged children – training on balance bikes
Learn to Ride – aimed at Years 1 to Year 6 – mastering the skills of balance and control