Want to get cycling but unsure of how to start? Help is out there! There are several kinds of cycling proficiency courses and whether you haven’t ridden for a while, want to make sure your children learn to ride safely or are just a wary of London’s roads there are schemes to build your confidence and get you riding safely.
The new standard for cycle training is the Bikeability award scheme. To get their Bikeability award, children and adults are instructed on how to ride their bikes to the Government approved National Standard for Cycle Training, which sets out the training and skills essential for riding in today’s conditions. This national standard means young people wanting to cycle are taught the essential procedures and skills they need to cycle safely. The standard has been developed by over 20 organisations and is maintained by the professional body for cycle training, the Cycle Training Reference Group.
Children and adults are instructed over three levels to get their Bikeability award:
Level 1 usually takes places in a traffic free environment, teaching the skills necessary to make a trip and undertake activities safely without cars. This stage is a pre-requisite for road cycling.
Level 2 takes place on quiet roads with real traffic conditions, teaching students the skills necessary to make a trip safely to school, work or for leisure on quiet roads.
Level 3 covers busy roads incorporating real traffic conditions and advanced road features, teaching the skills necessary to make a to ride on busy roads using complex junctions and road features.
Bikeability for schools
If you want to arrange cycle training for your child or child’s school, contact your local council’s cycling officer. Cycle training is often funded by the local authority for schools in the area and it may be possible for you to arrange individual training from this funding. Visiting your local authority's website and doing a search for 'cycle training' will usually bring up more information and a contact. Cycle training organisations such as Cycle Training UK will also usually provide training for schools and some schools even teach cycle training as part of physical education lessons.
Find out more on the Bikeability website.
Council Cycle Training
All London boroughs offer free or subsidised cycle training if you live, work or study in the borough; the TFL website will give you contact details for them. Remember if you live and work in different places you should contact both councils in order to get the best deal and most convenient times. Some cycle trainers will arrange home or workplace visits and many will even provide you with a bike so look around for what is best for you.
Of course we can help you too! Local LCC groups organise free rides and provide a welcoming and friendly environment for new cyclists. They can probably give you some relevant tips of their own too such as quiet local routes, busy junctions to avoid, useful accessories and good local bike shops. You can also contact our staff by phone and email, or join us for drinks to find out more about getting started on a bike.
If you’re looking for routes then the free London cycle maps are really useful for beginners. Although, the maps are now distributed by Transport for London, they were originally developed using our expert knowledge and you can order them here.
Alternatively you can plan routes online using our route planner.