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Cycling training - Iram Woolley and daughter in Southall Park

Free cycle training – and lots more – to get you riding

Whether you are a seasoned cyclist, or a first-time rider looking to improve your skills and gain confidence to cycle on Ealing’s roads, you can benefit from free cycle training. And there is a lot more help available, too.

Cycling Instructor, Ealing Council’s cycle training provider, offers up to four hours of free skills sessions and guided rides for every level of cyclist, at a time and place that suits you.

A range of courses are available from one-to-one sessions, adult group sessions to bespoke group sessions for families, colleagues and friends. These courses provide a great opportunity to learn how to ride a bike, improve your bike skills and develop confidence to ride a bike on Ealing’s quieter roads.

Council leader Julian Bell said: “We are committed to increasing the number of people that cycle in the borough. Cycling is an easy way to get more active and, when used as an alternative form of transport, it helps to reduce air pollution and traffic congestion. Once you have a bike, it is free too.”

Energising – and fun

Iram Woolley, from Southall, has been riding for more than 30 years. But she took the training to reinforce her riding skills and wants her children to learn as soon as possible, too. She is pictured above riding in Southall Park with one of her daughters.

She said: “Cycling is a great way to improve your health and fitness, it releases endorphins and helps you to get centred and energised and it’s also fun. Cycling helps me focus and promotes creativity, too.

“I cannot emphasise it more because being a mum with two under-fives could mean I would spend most of the time indoors, but cycling is a quick getaway. You can enjoy a ride to work, a local meeting, to the shops, on the school run or in a family outing.

“I think cycle training is necessary if you are new to riding a bike, because you can get mentoring one-on-one or in groups and get to practice the skills and techniques straight away.

“I’d encourage people to take up cycling and do the training with Cycling Instructor. It is important to learn about safety on the road and what type of gear you need for yourself and your bike, so a motorist can see you.”

Beginner and intermediate adult group sessions take place every Saturday at Gunnersbury Park and Southall Park between 10am-12noon and between 12.05-13.35pm respectively. Bikes are available to borrow for free at both destinations, but booking is required.

For more information or to book your free session visit cyclinginstructor.com/ealing or call 0845 652 0421. Alternatively, email rita.maestri@cyclinginstructor.com with the subject title ‘Ealing cycle training’.

Try Before You Bike

Try Before You Bike is a new scheme supported by the council that gives residents the opportunity to hire a new bike from £10 a month until you either own the bike or return it.

A wide range of bikes are available, and Peddle My Wheels delivers it fully assembled to your address. You receive a personalised two-hour cycle training session to help you build confidence and familiarity with your new ride.

If, at any point, you decide the you no longer want the bike, you can cancel your hire and Peddle My Wheels will collect the bike from you with nothing more to pay.

Find out more at www.peddlemywheels.com/try-before-you-bike

Bike maintenance

To help you keep cycling all year round the council also provides free Dr Bike pop-ups at various locations in the borough where mechanics carry out minor repairs on the spot and give advice on how best to look after your bike. To find out when Dr Bike is in your area visit www.ealing.gov.uk/cycling

Get around in a cargo bike

Because of popular demand, Ealing Council has added another cargo bike to its fleet. Joining the existing cargo trike is a two-wheeler cargo bike and both are free to hire for Ealing residents as long as you have valid third-party cycle insurance.

Cargo bikes are available to borrow
Cargo bikes are available to borrow

Cargo bikes, also known as freight bicycles, carrier cycles or box bikes, are pedal-powered and designed specifically for transporting loads. They are great alternatives to the car, can be used to carry up to four small children and are perfect for a fun day out, your commute or even the school run.

Tempted to give it a go? Email begreen@ealing.gov.uk for more information and to reserve one.

Ealing residents borrowing the cargo bikes are also being offered half price membership of the London Cycling Campaign (membership includes third-party liability insurance), bringing the annual cost down to £25. The cargo bikes are available for up to a maximum of two weeks at a time and need to be collected from, and dropped back to, the council’s Perceval House offices, 14-16 Uxbridge Road, Ealing W5 2HL.

Read more about how to borrow the cargo bikes on the cycling pages of the council’s website.

Cycling for schools, too

As part of the Transport for London (TfL) Bikeability scheme, the council provides cycle training to schools involved in TfL’s STARS accreditation programme.

In a change to the delivery of Bikeability training by previous providers, Cycling Instructor offers a pre-course assessment, to best understand and plan pupil’s requirements. It also includes after-school rides for the children with their parent/carer, on the final day of training. Trainees can demonstrate their new skills and knowledge to their family.

The following training is available to schools:
• Bikeability level 1 for years 3 and 4
• Bikeability level 1, 2 and 3 for years 5 and 6 (year 7 and 8 for high schools).

If your school is interested in signing up to STARS, email the council’s school travel team at sta@ealing.gov.uk

Summer of Cycling

The council’s now-annual Summer of Cycling festival will return this year. Keep an eye on this website for news. Here is what happened last year.

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