Introduction to Cycle Training and FAQs

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  • This is a brief introduction to Cycle Training by David Dansky (Skydancer) who works for CTUK

    The aim of training cyclists is to 'get more people riding more often more safely'
    This is the mantra for Bikeability, the new National Standard for cycle training.
    Clearly people who can't ride a bike or who are unsure about how to ride on the road will
    benefit from training and (as research has demonstrated) will be more likely to make
    cycle trips after being trained.

    The training is progressive and takes place in realistic road conditions.
    It builds up skills starting off road looking atbike control (level 1) moving onto basic single
    lane roads looking at positioning and communication (level 2).
    The training ends by looking at complex road situations on muti-lane roads, gyratory systems
    and large roundabouts (level 3).

    Training is especially beneficial for experienced riders who will no doubt improve their
    risk assessment skills, become better communicators from the saddle and ride in a more
    assertive manner or at the very least will undo some bad habits they have picked up.
    An experienced rider will complete the whole syllabus to the end of level 3 in under
    2 hours. Experienced riders note that they move through traffic more efficiently and have
    less conflict with other road users after being trained.

    Because of the effectiveness of training in promoting cycling, national and local government
    are both funding training across England and Wales. This means that it is possible to receive
    either free or subsidised from a professional trained cycling instructor.

    The LFGSS wishes to promote cycle training, recognises that there is a team of excellent
    instructors on this forum and hopes to provide information (FAQ) and facilitate discussions
    around training, riding experiences and techniques.

  • Heres some advice from David PG 24-25 via LCC's rather spiffing archive that lets you read the whole magazine, the current edition of the excellent 'London Cyclist' from L.C.C. (London Cycling Campaign) also features more cycle training info, ace stuff on Cycling to School, a Tweed Run feature, and a Rollapaluza feature- unmissable.­591

  • Can I request a female (or male) instructor?
    Yes; all the training organisations should be able to accommodate this request.

    How old do I have to be?
    Children from around 8 yrs old can be given road training (level 2). Funding for level 2 training is targetted at young people in schools years 5 and 6. level 3 funding was announced by the DfT recently and is expected to help fund training to young people in secondary schools.

    It is possible to get level 1 outcomes (off road bike control) outcomes people as young as 4.

    **Do I need my own bike? **
    Training organisations should be able to provide you with a bike if you are a beginner. Individual trainers may have another bike they can lend you for training; ask them when you contact them.
    Trainers generally prefer training people on their own bike which also means they can practice between and after lessons.

    Can I be trained on any kind of bike?
    The bike must be legal (two brakes if freewheel, front brake at least if it is fixed gear, for example).
    It must be roadworthy; the instructor will check the bike before the session.
    It must be the right size/fitted correctly

    If it is not roadworthy the instructor may be prepared to make some adjustments (inflating tyres, adjusting brakes, adjusting saddle height etc). If more than these minor adjustments are required the session maay not go ahead.

    Otherwise any kind of bike can be used. (Instructors will be happy to discuss what bikes are appropriate for what functions)

    Is Cycle Training like the Cycle Proficiency Test?
    You can't fail National Standard cycle training as it's not a test but a series of outcomes which you achieve at your own pace.

    The aim of cycle training is to facilitate and encourage cycling on roads. Though Level 1 will be taught off-road, like the CP Test, Levels 2 and 3 are on-road. What is done in Level 1 is done with the aim of progressing to cycling on the road.

    It is also taught in realistic traffic conditions and teaches people principles and logic rather than learning by rote. So people are empowered to manage their own risk while cycling

    Do I need a helmet or other equipment?
    No. Helmets are a personal choice as is a hi-viz vest or jacket.
    (For some balanced information about helmets check out

    The instructor should have sufficient tools to deal with any basic mechanical problems that might arise. It is important to dress appropriately for the weather though and ensure that clothing such a shoelaces/ baggy trousers don't get caught in the chain

    **Is training available for people with special needs?
    **Yes.Instructors who have been given the appropriate training should be available. Just ask the training provider or your instrutor when you book.

    **Will the trainer come to me or will I have to go to her?
    **Generally a trainer will come to you. Or if you are wanting to use your commuting route, for example, the trainer will meet you there. Lessons are also given starting at the Training Provider's base.
    It's often a good idea to meet the trainer in a park or another off-road area where bike control (level 1) will be taught or assessed before going on road.

    **How much does it cost?
    **Many councils (see relevant thread) provide free or subsidised training for people who live or work in the borough. The charge for private lessons with individual trainers will be set by the trainer so ask when you contact them.

    **How many lessons will I need?
    **Lessons may be 1-2 hours.

    Since training is outcome based the number of hours you need largely depends on you.

    As a guide...
    Complete beginners, new to cycling, shouldl be riding independently, off road, after 2 hours.
    People who can balance but may not have ever ridden on road should be confident with the on-road basics (Positioning and communicatiing) after 2-4 hours. They may need a further 2 hours to cover advanced riding (level 3)
    People who are confident on road but wish to undo some bad habits and learn some advanced skills should need 2 hours.They should complete level 3 in this time.

    **What will I learn?
    **Here is the syllabus
    Level 1
    1 Carry out a simple bike check
    2 Demonstrate understanding of safety equipment & clothing
    3 Get on and off the bike
    4 Start off and pedal
    5 Stop the bike
    6 Ride along independently
    7 Make the bike go where you want
    8 Use the gears correctly (where your bike has gears)
    9 Stop quickly with control
    10 Swerve to avoid objects
    11 Look all around, including behind, with control
    12 Signal right and left with control
    13 Look behind whilst signalling left and right, with control

    Level 2:
    1 Start an on road journey
    2 Finish an on road journey
    3 Be aware of everything around, including behind, while riding
    4 Understand how and when to signal intentions to other road users
    5 Understand where to ride on the roads being used
    6 Pass parked or slower moving vehicles
    7 Pass side roads
    8 Turn right into a major road do a U-turn then left into a minor road
    9 Turn left into a major road do a U-turn then right into a minor road
    10 Explain decisions made which demonstrate an understanding of your riding strategy
    11 Demonstrate basic understanding of the Highway Code, particularly interpreting road signs
    12 Decide when cycle lanes can help a journey and demonstrate correct use
    13 Be able to choose the correct lane when needed
    14 Go straight on from minor road to minor road at a crossroads

    Level 3:
    1 Use roundabouts
    2 Use junctions controlled by traffic lights
    3 Use multi-lane roads and turn off and into them
    4 Filter and demonstrate an ability to decide when to filter and when to wait
    5 Demonstrate good hazard perception and strategies to deal with hazards
    6 Demonstrate an understanding of route planning

    You can now make a trip on any road where cycling is allowed.

  • This needs a refresh. Happy to help but probably best coming from a level 3 trained instructor. Maybe @skydancer would like to do one? The industry is desperate for instructors, funding is secured for the next 20 months, what a better time to train as instructor?!

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Introduction to Cycle Training and FAQs

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