Plan to boost cyclists’ confidence on city roads

Control: Learn how to handle your bike by focusing on your balance, as well as using your gears and brakes effectively. To improve slow speed control try to cycle as slowly as you can ' it is 'harder than it sounds. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Control: Learn how to handle your bike by focusing on your balance, as well as using your gears and brakes effectively. To improve slow speed control try to cycle as slowly as you can ' it is 'harder than it sounds. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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NERVOUS cyclists will get the chance to boost their confidence under a training project being piloted in the Capital.

The initiative, launched today by Cycling Scotland, will offer adult cyclists a choice of four “Essential Cycling Skills” sessions to encourage new and returning cyclists to take to the road.

Observation: Practice looking behind you whilst cycling, without veering in the direction you look. It's a skill worth practising. Observation is so important, and remember your bike will go where you look so at all other times keep your eyes on where you want to go. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Observation: Practice looking behind you whilst cycling, without veering in the direction you look. It's a skill worth practising. Observation is so important, and remember your bike will go where you look so at all other times keep your eyes on where you want to go. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The organisation is working with bike retailers in the Capital to provide the sessions to their customers.

A spokeswoman for Cycle Scotland said: “As Scotland’s roads have changed so too has cycle training and Essential Cycling Skills gives adults an opportunity to sample this ­experience.”

Cyclists will be able to choose from: The Introductory Demo – a free session for groups focusing on bike handling skills in a traffic-free environment; Essential Cycling Skills – a two-and-a-half-hour session covering bike handling skills, on-road confidence and roadside repair knowledge; The One-to-One session – an hour tailored to the needs of individual cyclists; or the Cycle Commuter course – eight hours of cycle training aimed at providing everything needed to become an independent cyclist.

Costs for the sessions will vary from free for the introductory course to £75 for the eight-hour course.

Positioning: There are two key positions when cycling on road, primary and secondary. Primary: Roughly, where the driver of a car would be sitting. Use Primary position when making manoeuvres (like turning at junctions). Secondary: Where the left-hand tyre of a car would be, not hugging the kerb. Use the secondary position at all other times. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Positioning: There are two key positions when cycling on road, primary and secondary. Primary: Roughly, where the driver of a car would be sitting. Use Primary position when making manoeuvres (like turning at junctions). Secondary: Where the left-hand tyre of a car would be, not hugging the kerb. Use the secondary position at all other times. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Ged Holmyard, spokesperson for the Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op, which is offering courses, said: “Edinburgh ­Bicycle Co-op support this ­Cycling Scotland cycle training initiative because we ­believe that learning essential cycling skills can go a long way towards making people safer, more self-confident and ultimately happier to get out on their bikes.”

Simon Kirkness, manager of The Tri Centre, which is also involved in the pilot, said: “The Tri Centre has seen a big rise in the popularity of cycling, and the number of new cyclists that visit us has been increasing for a few years.

“We’ve been asked about adult cycle training in the past, and we feel Essential Cycling Skills gives us a great opportunity to support our customers with training to boost their confidence.”

The move has also been welcomed by cycling expert Richard Moore, who said it could help cut accidents on the road.

Signalling: Good communication 'skills are essential, respect your other road users and 'they will respect you. Use straight arms with 'big palms to let others know where you 'are going. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Signalling: Good communication 'skills are essential, respect your other road users and 'they will respect you. Use straight arms with 'big palms to let others know where you 'are going. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The journalist and award-winning author said: “People think you learn to ride a bike aged four and that’s you for life. With mountain-biking people realised there was a need for training and even experienced mountain-bikers will still go for lessons from time to time. That’s quite specialist but even with [regular on-road cycling] you’re never too old to learn something new.

“The most important thing is confidence. When people are nervous that’s when they tend to make mistakes or have accidents. So courses that help build confidence are definitely a good thing.

“However, I would say that there’s also room for drivers to have lessons on awareness of cyclists too.”

Ian Aitken, chief executive of Cycling Scotland, said: “Our Essential Cycling Skills pilot will equip adults taking up or returning to cycling with the confidence and skills they will need to make cycle journeys safer and more ­enjoyable.”

The Essential Cycling Skills pilot runs until July 14. For more information visit www.cyclingscotland.org.

How to . . .

Control: Learn how to handle your bike by focusing on your balance, as well as using your gears and brakes effectively. To improve slow speed control try to cycle as slowly as you can – it is

harder than it sounds.

Positioning: There are two key positions when cycling on road, primary and secondary.

Primary: Roughly, where the driver of a car would be sitting. Use Primary position when making manoeuvres (like turning at junctions).

Secondary: Where the left-hand tyre of a car would be, not hugging the kerb. Use the secondary position at all other times.

Observation: Practice looking behind you whilst cycling, without veering in the direction you look. It’s a skill worth practising. Observation is so important, and remember your bike will go where you look so at all other times keep your eyes on where you want to go.

Signalling:

Good communication

skills are essential, respect your other road users and

they will respect you. Use straight arms with

big palms to let others know where you

are going.