Experiences of Cycle Training

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  • Any reason you chose not to be a part of it? I ask because I always encourage parents to at least sit in for a couple of reasons:

    If the child forgets something taught a month down the line from their training parents can reiterate good practise. Also you don't want to be doing the opposite things if you're on a ride together i.e. instructor advises taking a prominent position in single lanes/through road works and parent not knowing darts for the gutter.

  • festus, i mentioned these things to him when i gave him the CTUK details a month ago

    also he is an experienced motorcyclist so despite his flippant remarks is actually very aware of primary position etc

  • This is so nice to hear 36x18.

    Out of curiosity, at what age do think you'll feel able to let the boys ride without parental supervision?

    That's a good question. Would be interested generally in this. Perhaps needs a thread its own

  • My 9-year old son had a cycle lesson on Saturday, with a trainer called Paul who we found though the Southwark Council scheme. The lesson was really good, well worthwhile.

    My son is used to riding on the road, but mainly on weekend-end mornings when it's quieter, and mainly on back streets. Paul showed him a bunch of techniques and explained them more precisely and with more impact than I'd managed. He seems to be an excellent cycle trainer

    My only quibble is that you need to ride fairly quickly to execute some of the techniques (like pulling out, taking the lane, and turning right) and that the techniques, while technically correct, rely on drivers not just ploughing through you. This is riskier for kids because they're lower down and not as easy to see, and they are not as fast when pulling a complex maneuver. Sometimes you get these idiot drivers and you kind of know you’re better off getting out the way. It’s not technically correct, and you probably can’t teach it, but if you want to live, sometimes you have to back down.

    To be fair, a lot of drivers are really good when they see kids on bikes on the street. Probably 70% of them.

    I leant quite a bit too from the lesson. It sounded like there’s a hierarchy of levels, so I might get some lessons myself

    Like at 36x18 said, it was a cold day for it on Saturday. Quite a bit of a kid’s lesson is low activity (listening, trying emergency stops, etc), so take gloves and wrap-up warm.

  • That's a good question. Would be interested generally in this. Perhaps needs a thread its own

    Seems like the primary schools in Southwark get cycle trainers in Year 6 (age 10-11). I guess this is because the next year a lot of them will need to get to secondary school on a bike. Maybe that's a good age.

  • Getting to secondary school is in theory why training is funded at year 6. What I wonder is at what age parents feel they'd allow kids to ride to school. (My 'kid' is 29 years old and I am reluctant to allow him to drive, he of course ignores me:)

    I have noted recently that in Hackney near me there are many more young people cycling to school since they turned the local roads into access only (Modal filtered) so traffic density is low and slow.

  • Put like that it's hard to say how old is old enough. I guess you'll always worry.

    By the time kids are 13 or 14, they are out on their own quite a bit anyway from what I can see. You probably don't have much choice by that time. People need to get around, especially teenagers. Best plan is to make sure they are equipped for it.

  • Paul is great. His company Cycling Instructor covers Southwark and other parts of South London and they've done loads for Southwark Cyclists over the years. Do give them feedback wont you.

    My 9-year old son had a cycle lesson on Saturday, with a trainer called Paul who we found though the Southwark Council scheme. The lesson was really good, well worthwhile.

    My son is used to riding on the road, but mainly on weekend-end mornings when it's quieter, and mainly on back streets. Paul showed him a bunch of techniques and explained them more precisely and with more impact than I'd managed. He seems to be an excellent cycle trainer

    My only quibble is that you need to ride fairly quickly to execute some of the techniques (like pulling out, taking the lane, and turning right) and that the techniques, while technically correct, rely on drivers not just ploughing through you. This is riskier for kids because they're lower down and not as easy to see, and they are not as fast when pulling a complex maneuver. Sometimes you get these idiot drivers and you kind of know you’re better off getting out the way. It’s not technically correct, and you probably can’t teach it, but if you want to live, sometimes you have to back down.

    To be fair, a lot of drivers are really good when they see kids on bikes on the street. Probably 70% of them.

    I leant quite a bit too from the lesson. It sounded like there’s a hierarchy of levels, so I might get some lessons myself

    Like at 36x18 said, it was a cold day for it on Saturday. Quite a bit of a kid’s lesson is low activity (listening, trying emergency stops, etc), so take gloves and wrap-up warm.

  • Getting to secondary school is in theory why training is funded at year 6. What I wonder is at what age parents feel they'd allow kids to ride to school. (My 'kid' is 29 years old and I am reluctant to allow him to drive, he of course ignores me:)

    I have noted recently that in Hackney near me there are many more young people cycling to school since they turned the local roads into access only (Modal filtered) so traffic density is low and slow.

    My dream is for filtered permeability in every other street in Southwark, if not the whole of London.

    This strongly supports arguments for implementing and enforcing 20 mph speed restrictions in areas with child pedestrians such as residential streets.

    I won't tell you my age but my mother says she worries about me cycling, every day - always has, always will.

    In terms of children, there's quite a lot of research which shows that children are less able to perceive speed than adults. All the more reason for implementing and enforcing 20 mph speed restrictions.

  • This is so nice to hear 36x18.

    Out of curiosity, at what age do think you'll feel able to let the boys ride without parental supervision?

    I have to admit, I don't know yet. I started riding on the road at 13, but in the shires and in an era when Morris Minors were still relevant. I am certain that my road sense didn't become useful until I was about 25 after 7 years of driving and motorcycling, and proper self-preservation occurred to me ten years after that. So when they are 35 I'll let them out of my sight.

    To me, 10 does seem a bit young to be let loose, not for the physical control of a bike, but because so much of our survival in the traffic is about correct reactions to the unpredictable and unplanned. That is a maturity of character issue more than knowledge of the Highway Code, which may not be there for a bit. The consequences of getting it wrong on the road are so severe that I'd like to protect mine for a bit longer. Is one of the Golden Rules to assume everyone else is an idiot? I haven't told them that yet!

    Any reason you chose not to be a part of it? I ask because I always encourage parents to at least sit in for a couple of reasons:

    If the child forgets something taught a month down the line from their training parents can reiterate good practise. Also you don't want to be doing the opposite things if you're on a ride together i.e. instructor advises taking a prominent position in single lanes/through road works and parent not knowing darts for the gutter.

    I understand all of that, and will go on their lessons in the future, but for the first one, I decided that alone they would have given Patrick undivided attention, and behave better as is always the case when parents are not around. There would have been a lot more bickering and moaning with a softer audience.

    Besides, I wanted a coffee, not a cold bike ride...

  • So when they are 35 I'll let them out of my sight.

    £10 says you won't.

    Is one of the Golden Rules to assume everyone else is an idiot? I haven't told them that yet!

    This is surely a Golden Rule for life in general, not just on the road ;)

  • From a trainee:

    “Before I took the cycle training I used to ride my bike only off roads and very occasionally. I thought it was way too dangerous to ride a bike in central London and my road cycling confidence was really low, therefore whenever I was in the city I used only a public transport or walked. It never even crossed my mind to take cycle training until one day a friend of mine strongly recommended it to me. At first, I thought that its a little bit lame - I knew how to cycle, my coordination on the bike was really good and, through recently passed driving license, I knew the traffic rules well; thus I didn't think that this training was really for me or that I could learn a good deal from it. I couldn't be more wrong.

    First of all, my trainer wasn't some kind of arrogant macho type, but the sweetest ever lady with a great knowledge worth of admiring. She has picked up on my technique mistakes and proved me wrong - by winning a short distance 'race' (about 10m). I have never started from the fifth gear again! Her experience mixed with a great sense of humor made the whole training more like a fun.

    Secondly, I really liked the way my training was organised; first part with technical and methodical advices while slowly cycling on the parking site; then moving to back roads stopping every 5-10min to explain the rules as well as correct and incorrect behavior of road users; then moving to main streets to practice everything I've learn on the day. We've finished with a short summary of the day.

    Finally, I greatly appreciated the fact that I could take my cycling lesson on Saturday afternoon. Also it took less than a week from booking until the day of the training.. It is over two years now since I had my training and since then I've been riding to work at least 2-3 times a week. I've even kept on riding throughout the whole winter last year! I'm using less of public transport now and I'm so much more aware while on the road, cycling, driving or even walking. And this is all thanks to you guys. Cycle training gave me the necessary confidence and knowledge to face the streets of London on by bike. I have been (and will be) recommending this training to everyone I know who doesn't cycle. Sometimes you might think this training is not for you, but this one can change your life - and it certainly change a great deal in my one. Thank you so much...”

  • Bravo to the instructor - what a gem.

  • Just had a cycle lesson. Waned to see if I'm tackling various junctions and major roundabouts correctly. Got the thumbs up from a really helpful instructor and told to look around more. Good weather too!

  • Just got back from a group sesssion in clapham, small turnout so we had 4 riders(3+me) and 2 instructors(Paul+Richard from cycleconfident). The first couple of hours we spent making emergency stops and doing signalling in an unused basket ball court and then from that till the end we moved onto some quiet roads to do what we just talked about on roads. As the group was small it was very good being able to talk in depth about things and had more time for questions and between the 4 of us we had a range of skills/questions so lots of things got covered and asked that I wouldn't have asked or even considered.

    My only thing they mentioned seemed to be that when I stop at a T junction or crossroads and I'm stationary I don't need to signal again as I did(it's something I have always done) but then he went on to say if a driver had been behind me for the first signal it's not needed repeating but if I was waiting for a while and a car approached then it would be good. Mixed messages about that.

    Left and took a nice quiet route home with one of the others from the ride who was going the same way but was sticking to main roads as he had been driving for 20 years and didn't know other routes. We talked on the ride up and his mind was totally blown, I got a vague idea he was thinking of his own driving and anger being a driver behind as he took primary or avoided door zones, the quiet route home in great weather I think just totally sold him on "why would I want to sit in a box".

    Thinking I should have spoken to the other 2 slightly more as the session ended. All kinda local tho so might see them when riding.

  • Are bikeworks any good?

    Question from a colleague.

  • Had another session today, 1-2-1 with Louise from CTUK. Very good, got to spend a good hour talking junctions and roundabouts and have a ride around tulse hill gyratory. Lots of mentioning my looking back is there but maybe isn't strong/clear enough, might need to get an upright bike to make that easier.

  • That's what I was told. But I think it's a bit like checking your mirrors when driving. Should always be done but with experience it's done quicker and in a less obvious manner.

  • If you look back too quickly you can't really process much information. Try snatching a glance behind and see if you can actually notice the colour of the car behind, the first three digits of the number plate or make actual eye contact with the driver behind. I find I need to look back longer to do any of those things.

  • It's about eye contact with drivers or just letting them actually see your face to humanize you a bit more so they think "oh look a guy on a bike" rather than "oh a bike". I'm doing an instructor course soon so I need to get this stuff spot on. What dancing james said about the number plates might be onto something if I get the chance I'll try that.

  • The other thing about making it obvious you're looking back is that drivers are (or should be, which obvs isn't quite the same thing) trained to interpret a cyclist looking back as a cyclist who is about to do something.

    It often shows up as a segment in the hazard perception video during theory tests as something that should make drivers pay attention. Anecdotal experience on fast A roads in particular is that if I look behind a lot, drivers are more likely to change lane when they overtake me. No looking behind, many more close passes. The difference might be that when looking behind they almost subconsciously think "oh, a hazard" and make an effort to move away.

  • ^yup, agreed 100%, they get annoyed when I look and don't change lane haha. I find eye contact through mirrors a completely different story, too many times I have locked eyes with a driver through a mirror only fir the driver to then act as if I wasn't there.

  • Bump this.

    My wife wants to start cycling to work but is understandably nervous and inexperienced. I was wondering if cycle training would be a good Avenue to give her some skills and build confidence.

    Has anyone an experience they can relate?

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Experiences of Cycle Training

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