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Old 9th December 2010   #150
Oliver Schick
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Originally Posted by skydancer View Post
You're right dale. It is a difficult sell and is almost self contradictory in that the whole thrust of marketing cycling per se is that it is a low risk activity that anyone can do. (so why do you need training?) Yet clearly training is beneficial and makes riding even lower risk, more fun and more efficient.
To me, the point of cycle training is very simple--to increase enjoyment of cycling. Safety is, surprisingly, a red herring, as it is just a part of increased enjoyment to feel safe and to have good grounds to know that you are safe. This is obviously not meant to de-emphasise the importance of reducing crashes and injuries, but it is important to get the conceptual hierarchy the right way around.

It's really simple--people don't do things they don't enjoy, or only do them if they're forced to. For every person who's convinced by cycling, there will be a strong factor of enjoyment there, and it's key to pass that on. I'm not talking about certain lifelong cyclists who have something we call 'cyclist inferiority syndrome' and who are basically cycling curmudgeons.

How important cycle training is can be seen by this recent study, for instance. It shows that the majority of the time, cyclist injuries are caused by people falling off their bikes without any motor vehicle involved. This is because people's risk assessment mechanisms didn't work, and the emphasis of cycle training is of course to increase people's ability to accurately assess the risks that they incur.

So, cycle training is basically spot-on and by far the most intelligent approach possible. I am certain of that and that over time it is going to bring about what I call 'generational change'. We won't be able to completely reverse the attitudes of the previous generation, who was very much a generation lost to cycling in this country, but we will be able to change the next generation's attitude and enable them to overcome the scaremongering that still exists (e.g. the helmet industry pushing helmets on to people) to consider cycling perfectly normal, like in a civilised country.
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