Frequently asked questions:

 

What are the national standards for cycle training?

Level 1. Complete beginners
Off road instruction.  Learn to ride.  Focusing on: bike handling skills, balance, stopping, riding one handed, looking over shoulder etc.

Level 2. On road (beginners)
Basic manoeuvres - on quiet roads: Start and finishing a journey, positioning on road, passing junctions, overtaking parked vehicles, left & right turns, mini roundabouts etc

Level 3. On road (advanced)
Advanced manoeuvres - on busier routes: Major roundabouts, traffic lights, cross roads, duel carriageways, filtering etc. 

Full syllabus details are available by clicking here.

National Standards in Cycle Training has been branded "Bikeability" in England and "Bikability Scotland" in Scotland.

 

Are you insured? Do I need insurance?

Our instructors have instructor liability insurance for any damage that might result from their negligence to a maximum liability of £10,000,000 

We recommend that all cyclists have their own 3rd party liability insurance to cover any damage they may cause while cycling.  Many home contents insurance policies do include this as part of the policy. It is also included in membership of the: Cycling UK (CTC) or British Cycling (ride membership or silver membership) or the race license for British Triathlon Federation (Triathlon Scotland/England/Wales).

It is also possible to obtain personal accident insurance which will cover you if you are injured or disabled. You can also insure your bike against theft or damage.

Cycle training is thought to be a very low risk activity. It is at your discretion whether individual insurance should be taken out.

 

Does the weather impact on training?

In hot or sunny weather please make sure you have a hat, sun cream and a water bottle.  In the cold and/or wet don't forget a warm hat, gloves & waterproofs.

If it is icy and/or foggy we will rearrange the training for a mutually convenient time.

 

Do I have to wear a helmet?

You are not required to wear a helmet. If you do wear one ensure it is fitted correctly, is in good condition, and meets an approved standard; such as Snell or ANSI (in the USA), Eu (Europe), BSI (Britain) or AS (Australia). This will be marked inside the helmet.

The following is from the Cycling Scotland fact sheet 1 - safer cycling. 

"Safety equipment such as cycle helmets can sometimes result in risk compensation.   The cyclist may have a false sense of security when wearing a helmet which could lead to them taking more risks. Cyclists should aim to avoid impact altogether through a positive riding position, increased awareness and vigilance and ensuring high visibility at all times. "

Research by Dr Ian Walker, a traffic psychologist at the University of Bath, found that drivers will overtake closer to cyclists wearing a helmet, give more room to those not wearing a helmet and give most room to cyclists wearing a long wig.

 John Franklin has collected more information about the advantages and disadvantages of wearing helmets at: http://www.cyclecraft.co.uk/helmets.html

The Cycling Scotland briefing on cycle helmet use is here: http://www.cyclingscotland.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Cycling-Scotland-Helmet-Policy-March-2011.doc

 

How good does my eyesight have to be?

When you are riding on the road the eyesight requirement is the same as for car drivers.  Can you read a car number plate from 20m (with glasses /lenses if worn)?

If not please visit your optician before riding your bike.

 

Medical needs?

If you don't feel well let us know as soon as possible and we will rearrange the training for a mutually convenient time. If you start to feel unwell during the training let the instructor know straight away.

If you are taking any medication please read the small print that came with it and see if it says not to operate machinery or to drive. If it does we can rearrange the training for a mutually convenient time.

 

Do I need to fill in an application form for training?

Yes please.  Here it is.

Cycle training booking form

 

What books do you recommend?

Cyclecraft by John Franklin is the core text for anyone wanting to ride on the roads.  It can be purchased by clicking here.  There are a number of other useful books which you may wish to read and they can be viewed here.

 

Will I get a certificate?

All participants will receive a certificate providing evidence of training completed.   Where National Standards Level 1, 2 or 3 are achieved, this will be indicated.  A feedback report giving details of what has been achieved and points for development can also be provided.

 

Childs Bike Buying Guide

 Having done bike safety checks on hundreds of childrens bikes I recommend you ask the following questions before buying that new children's bike.

1. How heavy is the bike?

A bike that is so heavy that the child struggles to pick it up when it is laid down or to lift the front wheel over a kerb will be very hard work to ride.  As a result cycling is not fun and the bike will hardly get used - eventually you will find it at the back of the shed still looking brand new and your children will have outgrown it.  A bike that hardly gets used is not a bargain.

2. Does the bike fit the child?

Can your child get a foot on the ground when sitting on the saddle (both feet if they are learners)?  Can they stand in front of the saddle with both feet on the floor and straddle the top tube?  If they can't do both of these the bike is too big so get a smaller one which does fit.

3. Are the brake handles scaled for children's hands?

Many cheap bikes for children aged over 10 use adult size components but children often can't get more than the ends of their finger tips onto the brake handles. This means they are not able to put enough pressure on the brakes to stop the bike in an emergency.  Mum or dad might be able to put the brakes on but it's the child who will be riding it.  It is best if the child who is going to be riding the bike does a brake check before purchase, or have an adult try the brakes only using their little finger - that is the equivalent of a child's grip strength.

4. How many gears do you need?

Few children at primary school will properly manage bikes with gears on the rear wheel and on the chain rings by the pedals. Get a bike with a wide range rear block of about 8 gears and single chain ring at the front.  They will more quickly understand how to use gears and have fewer mechanical problems.

5. Do you need really need suspension?

All your mates have a bike with suspension and full suspension "must" be better. But it is fashion and peer pressure that is driving the move to have suspension on most kids bikes.  Be suspicious of suspension on cheap bikes, especially rear suspension.  Cheap suspension is often of such poor quality that the only thing it does is add weight to the bike.  You do not need a suspension to ride around town, on off road Sustrans type paths or forestry tracks.  Look at what cycle cross rides do on a suspension free cyclo cross bike.

I went for Isla bikes for my kids. They were not cheap but are excellent quality and good value; I have a waiting list of people wanting to buy them second-hand when my kids have grown out of them.  Most importantly the kids love them, and when their mates who have cheap, heavy, suspension laden bikes have a go their eyes light up and they shout "this is great, it's so fast, it's so light…."

You will find lots of detailed advice about buying bikes for children and cycling with children in the CTC "Guide to family cycling" ISBN 978 0 954817640. Buy it at:-

http://astore.amazon.co.uk/abbesscycletraining-21/detail/0954817648

 

Other?

If you have any other questions not covered here, please do contact us by clicking here.