Pupils at a primary school in Widnes enjoyed a visit from Great Britain Cycling Team athlete Charlotte Green on Tuesday.
Green, who is part of the BMX squad, paid a special trip to Lunts Heath Primary School to meet the pupils and talk about the importance of cycling safely on today’s roads.
The opportunity was provided by British Cycling, which has teamed up with Halton Borough Council to develop the cycling skills of hundreds of pupils across the area.
The National Governing Body has been delivering Bikeability training to schools, helping young people to develop their skills for riding on the road. Lunts Heath Primary School achieved the visit from Charlotte for taking part in the Bikeability programme.
Charlotte Green, a BMX rider on the Great Britain Cycling Team, said: “With cycling flourishing and becoming one of the nation’s leading and most popular activities, having the ability to ride a bike on road is an essential life skill.
“It’s really important that the next generation of cyclists have the opportunity to develop their bike handling skills and build up their confidence to cycle safely on today’s roads.”
British Cycling’s Cycle Training Manager, Victoria Spencer, said: “This is the third year running that we have partnered with Halton Borough Council to deliver Bikeability. Through the partnership, we aim to equip young people with the skills to make everyday trips by bike. We hope to inspire a new generation of safer, more confident cyclists who continue cycling for many years to come.”
The council has been awarded funding from the Department for Transport to develop the cycling skills of 700 primary school pupils and 100 secondary school pupils throughout the next academic year.
To achieve this, British Cycling will deliver Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 Bikeability in schools across Halton throughout the academic year.
Instructors will work with pupils aged between 10 and 14, to give them the skills and confidence to ride their bikes in a variety of on-road environments. The first Bikeability course of 2014 took place at Fairfield Primary School this month.
Halton Borough Council's executive board member for transportation, Cllr Tom McInerney, said: "Cycling offers a healthy, cost effective alternative means of travel which supports this council's aim of expanding people's transport choices.
"However, it’s important that children learn to ride safely and Bikeability is the 'cycling proficiency' for the 21st century - the scheme that gives children the skills and confidence they need to cycle in modern road conditions. I wholeheartedly support the Bikeability initiative which is being delivered by British Cycling in Halton.”
Bikeability training is delivered in line with the National Standard for Cycle Training. Pupils will be taught basic bike handling skills in an off-road environment, before progressing onto quiet local roads, where they can learn about road positioning and communication with other road users.
When the riders progress to Level 3 Bikeability, they will use roads, junctions and roundabouts in Halton with higher volumes of traffic – focusing on those that the pupils are likely to use to make cycling trips following the course.
Bikeability is delivered in a way which builds knowledge and confidence, enabling the pupils to apply their new skills in a range of traffic environments when they become regular, independent cyclists.