Your learning experience

I teach people of all ages one-to-one; pairs and small groups considered on request. I give you a learning experience that feels comfortable, where you feel free to 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 you need to become a confident and able rider.

Some people believe their balance ability is poor, 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. It needs a tried and tested method, patience and willingness. Balance, like many other skills, can only be improved by doing it.

For beginners

I warmly welcome beginners of any age – from children who have struggled to get the hang of it, feeling left behind by siblings and friends, to adults of any age who have not yet had the experience of cycling.  I use a tried-and-tested method that starts with feeling safe and gradually progresses at your pace.  It starts with becoming familiar with handling the bike, letting the body figure out how to balance on 2 wheels, only then adding pedalling and the finer control skills, all personalised to you.

Many young children pick up learning to ride a bike naturally through play.  So why might tuition be needed? Young children come to me mostly because a bad experience has put them off, or their parents recognise they lack the necessary teaching skills, patience and emotional distance.   One of the major obstacles for a young child is being primed on stabilisers and finding the transition to 2 wheels an enormous challenge.

Are you an adult who has had to time to nurture your fears and beliefs about riding a bike?  Fear of falling is a valid fear.  Falling off while learning is not compulsory, but if you do, you may realise it is not so bad after all, so you become less anxious.

You will want to take time to practice your new skills off-road before moving to the next stage of how to negotiate roads.  Then there’s no telling where the bike might lead you:  sports cycling, mountain-biking, or touring, or simply the local transport and the delight of moving with ease on 2 wheels.

Bike control skills for existing riders

There is a lot more to riding a bike than balancing, though that is the core skill.  Even those accustomed to cycling can learn a lot from tuition.  A confident middle-aged woman who had recently resumed cycling came to me for tips about riding on roads.  As always, we started with bike control.  At the end of the lesson she said she had learnt so much which transformed her feeling about cycling.  Notably, she learnt that most of our steering control comes from our seat, i.e. our spine as an extension of the bike frame.  She had been tensely and nervously steering from the handlebars.  This nugget transformed the way she felt riding a bike.  A little coaching can sow seeds for a better cycling experience, more fun and more attuned to the motion of the bike.

Road craft

Are you happy riding off road but feel nervous venturing on roads, fearful of traffic? As cyclists we are part of the traffic, since bicycles are legally vehicles. Road craft tuition imparts best practice for riding on roads and tips for protecting ourselves and others. Equipped with this knowledge, riding on a road will empowering rather than daunting. This good practice has been painstakingly developed and compiled into the Bikeability programme which replaced the old Cycling Proficiency.  It is a big improvement on Cycling Proficiency, as it is uniform across the country, is well structured and after initial bike control, it is conducted on real roads.

The main principles are Observation, Positioning, Communication and Priorities (road rules).  Within these is an extensive syllabus containing best practice for riding on roads.  Whilst I am not a Bikeability programme, I use the same content, personalised to your needs.

 

 Safety

The emphasis in tuition is on reducing the likelihood of problems occurring.  No activity is completely “safe”, and life is a balancing act of weighing up various risks. Cycling is less hazardous than some believe and the chance of an injury through cycling is far outweighed by the risks of a sedentary life indoors.  The more people cycle, the lower the risks since cyclists become a greater presence on the road.

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.

Don’t get hung up about safety on specific items like helmets, hi-viz, bells and lights.  While these things can help reduce the chance of injury, in the tuition the focus is on our conduct on the road, our behaviour towards other road users, and ways to protect ourselves from our own and others’ errors.  Whether to wear a helmet is not clear cut and is worth exploring fully.  Items that make us more visible or audible to others are a good idea, but absence of them should not be used as an excuse to blame the cyclist for a mishap caused by someone else.