Wokingham Borough Council has been named the best local authority in the country for Bikeability cycle training for young people.
It was announced as winner of the Bikeability Trust’s Local Authority/SGO Host School Partner of the Year 2020 Award.
The council’s My Journey Wokingham programme helps wider objectives to reduce congestion, improve local air quality, increase activity levels and is vital in the council's efforts to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.
The award recognises the team’s work to have as much cycle training as possible in the borough, as well as the behind-the-scenes support and coordination work that goes into making it happen.
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 successes with the training include:
- 100 per cent of the borough’s primary/junior schools receive Bikeability training (Years 5/6 2019/20)
- An average of 80 per cent (1,600) of year 6 children take part in Bikeability Level1/2/3 training (2019/20)
- 45 per cent growth in level 3 training (2018/19 to 2019/20)
- Target new schools with only younger children with Bikeability Balance, Bikeability Learn to Ride and Level 1 courses.
- Train more than 250 children per year in Bikeability Learn to Ride, with 78 per cent of children riding independently in just two sessions (with 83 grant-funded places).
- Regularly adapt 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."
Culture of cycling
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, the Wokingham Bikeathon, workplace events and lunchtime rides, bike maintenance training courses, family rides and women-only rides to boost confidence.
Double award win
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.”
More prizes for our provider
Finally, following a very 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.”