Get biking: Suffolk council offers free cycle training

Mark and Ellis Desira with the instructor Iain Watson on a Free cycling session. Picture: SUFFOLK CO

Mark and Ellis Desira with the instructor Iain Watson on a Free cycling session. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

As it tries to encourage more pedal power on the roads, Suffolk County Council has launched a new series of family cycling courses to teach safety and give more people the confidence to take the cycle on the road.

The county council’s Bikeability team is offering free cycling sessions to provide practical skills on how to cycle on today’s roads. Everyone is welcome to take part from adults, families and children. The sessions are aimed at those who want to cycle more regularly whether to keep fit, to commute to work or school, or to visit friends.

A session lasts up to two and a half hours and is delivered by a fully qualified Bikeability Cyclist Trainer. The trainer chats about what participants are trying to achieve and tailors the session for specific needs.

Journeys made by bike rose by 120% during the pandemic, while bus, rail, ferry, plane and car journeys fell by as much as 95%.

Latest research also suggests that as many as 16% of the population in England (8.9 million people) have been cycling per week during the pandemic.

Suffolk County Council wants to encourage more people to get out and about by cycling and walking for their short journeys. The aim is to embed active travel as part of a long-term habit and reap the associated health, air quality and congestion benefits.

Suffolk has already implemented several cycling schemes in Ipswich as a result of funding received from the Department for Transport and further schemes are now being considered in Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket, Beccles, Felixstowe, Stowmarket and Sudbury.

MORE: Cycling boost for Ipswich as council bids for cash

Most Read

It is also promoting the Government’s Fix Your Bike £50 voucher scheme, and has provided funding to Greater Anglia to install more cycle racks at their train stations across Suffolk to help more people make cycling part of their commute or daily routine.

Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “I am proud that we are rapidly rolling out more space for walking and cycling and upgrading cycle routes here in Suffolk. But we also need to equip people with the confidence they need to cycle in and around our county, so I’m delighted we are now able to offer free cycling sessions for local residents.

“Walking and cycling will be absolutely central to Suffolk’s recovery from coronavirus and our free cycling sessions are making sure everybody who wants to cycle can do so safely and easily. Many of our newly upgraded cycle routes in Ipswich coupled with cycling training will make journeys to school, work and the hospital a reality for more people.”

Mike Motteram, Suffolk County Council’s Road Safety Manager, said: “The Council’s Road Safety Team delivers Bikeability to hundreds of 10 and 11-year-olds every summer term. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to train as many as we normally do so we are keen to reach children and parents during August and to help those who may be cycling to school for the first time in September.

“We’ve also extended the offer to adults who will be looking to swap the car for a bike when they return to the workplace.”

For further information on the active travel measures Suffolk County Council is putting in place across Suffolk and to sign up for a free session visit the council’s website.