Cycling is on the increase in Bristol, and based on the age range of people who have cycle training, I’d hazard a guess that growth is greatest amongst 30 - 40 year olds. This is of course fantastic, but if we’re really going to transition towards Dutch levels of mass cycling, it’s the next generation that needs the greatest boost. Whilst around 2,000 children aged 10 – 11 receive cycle training in Bristol each year, the numbers who actually go on to cycle regularly are much lower.
Cycle Training is essential in ensuring that children have the skills to cycle, but it takes more than just training to get them cycling regularly. Evidence indicates (see Essential Evidence from Adrian Davis) that children are more likely to cycle if their parents do – this is not rocket science! Kids can of course ride around the local park and streets – where traffic levels and speeds are low, unaccompanied, but a 10 year old isn’t going to head off for a ride alone… and these days very few parents would let them.
The answer lies in encouraging and supporting parents to cycle, whilst also inspiring and training their children. Life Cycle’s Family Cycling events aim to do just this: by offering activities like “Kids Bike Swaps” allowing parents to trade-in an outgrown bike for the next size up, free of charge; a “Dr Bike” mechanic service, offering minor repairs to parents existing cycles; and cycle skills sessions and “Bike Rodeos” for children.
Another key offer for parents of young children is the opportunity to borrow equipment including child seats, tag-alongs or a trailer. I remember how difficult it was when my kids were young to decide what kind of child seat to get, and then later which tag-along. I would have loved to have had a chance to try them out for free before I invested in something that wasn’t quite right. So if you are struggling to decide what equipment to choose, then do give us a bell to arrange a free loan - just like Geoff:
"Many thanks to Life Cycle, whose kind loan of a tag-a-long has opened up new cycling opportunities. It has been a huge success with our 4 year-old daughter and inspired us to get one of our own"
There’s loads going on for children and families during this month’s bumper 5th edition of the Bristol Cycle Festival and Life Cycle will be running a Family Cycling Event on the 12th July at Avonmouth Community Centre: please spread the word to anyone you know who needs some help getting going.