Bikeability’s tips for improving bike confidence
1. Getting the basics
: Getting cycle training from experts is the best way to improve your knowledge, skills and confidence. They will teach you techniques to help you more safely cycle, whether that’s on roads or cycle paths. At Bikeability we offer training for children and adults, you can find out what cycle training is available in your area here
2. Set a goal
: Having something to aim for is a great way to focus your mind and get you out on your bike more often. It might be something simple like replacing a few journeys a week with a cycle, or covering a certain number of kilometres in a month. You could even sign up for a charity cycle ride, or perhaps plan a holiday with some cycling involved. There are cycling apps you can download to help monitor your progress and compete about other cyclists in your area.
3. Practice your routes
: If you would like to cycle a particular route, such as going to work or school, it’s worth trying your planned route out beforehand, ideally when it isn’t busy so you can take your time. Trying a route first will help you identify if there are any parts that might be harder than you expect, like a steep hill, or any bits you don’t feel comfortable with yet, like busy roads. Knowing what and where the challenges are will help improve your confidence on the route.
4. Find someone to cycle with
: Cycling is much more fun with other people – you can share favourite routes, revel in the scenery together, plus you have someone to chat to! If you have a friend who likes cycling they’ll probably be more than happy to go out on a leisurely bike ride with you on the weekend. There are lots of social groups out there that are aimed at people who want to learn a few routes, meet other people and just enjoy a cycle. Try British Cycling’s group finder Let's Ride - Homepage (letsride.co.uk)
to find a group near you.
One in six adults (17%) admit that they do not know how to ride a bike at all. Some reasons for being unable to ride a bike include never having had access to a bike (16%), never being taught (13%) and fear of falling or a bike-related phobia (8%).
The average age we learn to ride a bike is 7 years old, with only 13% of people learning to ride under 5 years old. The survey showed that children are most likely to be taught by their fathers to ride a bike, followed by self-learning, their mum and then their friends.
Our research also revealed that one in six adults who can’t ride a bike admit that they feel embarrassed or ashamed about the fact.