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Best cycle training for young people in the country

We are delighted to announce that Wokingham Borough Council has been named the best local authority in the country for Bikeability cycle training for young people. It was announced in May as winner of the Bikeability Trust’s Local Authority of the Year 2020 Award.

Bikeability training is delivered as part of the My Journey Wokingham team’s programme which aims to change travel behaviours through active and sustainable travel. The award recognises our work to have as much cycle training as possible in the borough, as well as the behind-the-scenes support and coordination that goes into making it happen.

The successes which contributed to Wokingham winning the award were:

  • 100% of the borough’s primary/junior schools offer Bikeability training (in Years 5/6)
  • An average of 80% (1,600) of Year 6 children take part in Bikeability Level1/2/3 training)
  • 45% growth in Level 3 training (2018/19 to 2019/20)
  • Targeting new schools which only have younger children with Bikeability Balance, Bikeability Learn to Ride and Level 1 courses
  • Training more than 250 children per year on Bikeability Learn to Ride courses, with 78% of children riding independently in just two sessions
  • Regularly adapting sessions to include special educational needs and disabilities provision

“The fantastic cycling training scheme our My Journey team runs for primary school pupils sets them up to love cycling for life,” said Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, Executive Member for Highways and Transport. “Training them to ride safely on the road means they will be far more likely to travel by bike in their leisure time, use it for exercise or to help them get to school. It also helps the Council towards its carbon neutral by 2030 goal, improves air quality and, vitally, reduces congestion on our roads.”

Cycling has increased in popularity in recent weeks as the Government’s COVID-19 measures have meant more people getting out to ride their bikes for daily exercise. The Council wants to capitalise on this vigour to continue to build a culture of cycling in Wokingham Borough.

My Journey has run dozens of cycling events in recent years and we hope our residents will continue to make the most of them, as well as new people coming along, when we are able to start running them again. This includes our Doctor Bike events, adult cycle training, “Woky Wheels for All” inclusive cycling sessions, workplace events, bike maintenance training courses, family rides and SHINE rides for over 60’s.

It’s a double celebration in the borough, as the runner-up in the category of Most Proactive Primary school is Shinfield St.Mary’s Junior School.

Matthew Lappin, PE teacher at the school, said: “Shinfield St. Mary’s C of E Junior School are overjoyed to be recognised as one of the leading schools in the country when it comes to promoting positive cycling opportunities for primary-aged children. The parent engagement towards cycling in the school has been overwhelming and we are very fortunate to have so many families who have shared our vision from the start.

“With the unwavering and dedicated support of Sprockets Cycle Club over the past few years, Shinfield St. Mary’s have been able to grow as a cycling school and we have seen our Year 6 children leaving as confident cyclists after 3 years of curriculum cycling. Our aim of creating confident and competent cyclists of the future continues to be met and we, as a school, are extremely proud of this.”

Finally, following a competitive tendering process, the Council recently awarded the new contract for teaching Bikeability training in Wokingham schools from 1 April 2020 to Avanti Cycling. The company has scooped the award for Bikeability provider of the year.

Paul Robison, CEO of the Bikeability Trust, said: “Every year I am profoundly touched by the amazing tales of commitment, determination and professionalism to teach and learn – from trainees who have to overcome significant physical challenges to do the Bikeability training, to the school teachers and instructors that demonstrate so much dedication, imagination and determination to deliver the best possible training for the children.”