Cycle skills course for youngsters in Spalding

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Two wheels are better than four, but only if cyclists are confident, competent and safe to be out on the roads.

With enormous success at last year’s Tour de France and the Olympics, cycling shops and clubs are seeing a much greater interest in the sport.

For instance, Spalding Cycling Club, which celebrated its 85th anniversary last year, has seen membership grow to about 120 members.

However, the club is playing its part in making sure that youngsters are given the right skills to keep them safe when they are on their bikes.

The national Go Ride scheme has been running in Spalding for about four to five years, and the first one-hour session of the new programme starts on Saturday (10am) at Spalding Rugby Club. They are every other Saturday after that.

Press officer Tim Bryett explained that the course – aimed at young people from five to 16 – improves their bike handling skills and confidence and, as a result, their safety, as it develops skills not taught in the Cycling Proficiency Test.

“It’s more of a skills-based initiative to follow on from the Proficiency Test, if you like,” said Tim. “The kids learn how to go around obstacles, pick up objects and drop things into crates. While they are doing these fun activities they are developing their bike handling skills at the same time and that makes them much more capable and confident in handling a bike out on the road.”

Interestingly, the club has found that youngsters’ involvement in Go Ride sometimes results in their parents becoming interested and joining the club.

Tim said: “It actually serves as a good recruiting tool because mums and dads turn up with bikes as well and some of the people taking part in Go Ride have obviously dropped out, but some have stayed and become full members of the club and are actually racing at national championship level.

“We welcome young people of all abilities and encourage everyone to take part as fully as they can. Some might think it is about racing and be put off, but this is about having fun and learning something new.”

Any type of bike can be used, so long as it is in good condiition, and a cycling helmet must be worn.

Youngsters need to have their parents’ permission.

The first session is free and after that sessions cost £1 each but there is a £10 joining fee to provide cover under the club’s insurance policy.