My aim is to help you ride confidently and well on our roads, minimising risk and maximising pleasure. I cover Eastleigh, Totton and Southampton.
Your instructor: Eleanor van der Hoest – something about me
I have cycled for over 30 years, after learning to ride in my 20’s. I never had a bike as a child and it took a Dutch boyfriend to get me riding – surprisingly quickly. The thrill and freedom I found in cycling has never quite left me – when I’m on a roll, it feels like flying on solid ground!
Other delights in my life are singing, dancing, baking, walking and poi spinning, as well as simple ink line drawings and embroidery.
I am a National Standard Cycle Training Instructor number NSIQ517388A having gained experience in the Bikeability schools programme in Hampshire. The National Standard is set by the Department for Transport to ensure consistency in the teaching of cycling skills to children across the country. Bikeability is the programme name for the teaching of the National Standard in schools. I use the content and structure of the National Standard, tailored to individual needs.
Some people I have taught
A vibrant, strong woman with 3 children cycled happily and confidently as a child until she failed her Cycling Proficiency test, whereupon her parents deemed cycling too dangerous! She didn’t cycle again until she bought a bike last year but was terrified to ride it on roads. After a few lessons with me she felt liberated.
A confident and regular cyclist does not use roads that she thinks present too high a risk. In one lesson she learnt a whole lot of tips which made her feel part of the traffic and I hope she will soon be using some of those normal city roads she used to avoid. A couple of trainees are learning to ride from scratch, having never learnt before. Like many people they feel it’s time to get onto 2 wheels and it’s never too late.
My approach to teaching
I teach adults and young people one-to-one, and pairs and small groups on request. I understand how fear may stop people doing things they want to do. I give you a safe learning experience where you feel free to raise any concerns or ask any questions. People say they find me user-friendly, reassuring, patient and clear.
Whatever your level or experience, we start from where you are now and work at your own pace, covering all the elements of the National Standards syllabus.
Some people believe they have no balance ability, and this has stopped them riding a bike. Rest assured, if you are able to stand and walk, your body is supremely skilled at balance and can adapt to new techniques. Balance, like many other skills, can only be improved by doing it.
Other people who can already ride find cycling in traffic too challenging. When we think of traffic we may think only of motor vehicles but cyclists are part of the traffic, since bicycles are legally regarded as vehicles. We are all people on the road, regardless of our type of vehicle. The roads become much safer and more pleasant when everyone is courteous and considerate towards other human beings on the road. We cyclists can improve safety on the roads by being present in greater numbers and by riding according to generally accepted best practice. Confident, careful cyclists reassure other road users.
My thinking about cycling
Cycling is going places in more ways than one. It offers solutions to problems of sustainability, health, congestion and cost. And, foremost of them all, it’s great fun. I find it empowering and liberating to go faster and further than I can walk under my own steam. It’s also a sociable activity to ride with friends and yet remain independent. We feel more connection to the environment on a bicycle than enclosed in a metal box. So many reasons to ride, so let’s reclaim the roads for people. If you are looking for ways to live greener, happier, cheaper, cycling is the way forward.
The emphasis in teaching is on methods that reduce the likelihood of problems occurring. No activity is completely “safe” and cycling is less hazardous than some believe. The chance of an injury through cycling is far outweighed by the risks of a sedentary life indoors. It has been shown that people who cycle regularly in general have the fitness of people 10 years younger. The more people cycle, the lower the risks since cyclists become a greater presence on the road.