Bikeability In Provence?

Just before Christmas, at the suggestion of my good friend Andy Sinclair (aka Dr Bike) I looked into a scheme which trains kids in Exeter’s schools to ride their bikes.

It seems to be run by a combination of Sustrans, Exeter City Council and Devon County Council, so you already know that it starts out as a bugger’s muddle, and so it has proved to be. But I’m nearly there.

I went on a 4-day training course where they tried to make cycling the most boring thing in the world, and since then I’ve spent a few hours with some very nice ‘Bikeability’ instructors Danny, Adam and Richard.

The kids are uniformly great, and these are only 2-hour sessions so I don’t have to spend too much time out of the office. The children make it completely worthwhile. So far I’ve only been involved with 9 & 10 year olds, at Ide, Exwick Heights and Stoke Hill primary schools. This Friday I have my accreditation with ‘Cycle Exeter’, and if I pass I’ll soon be teaching kids in Exeter to ride safely.

I’ve been very disappointed in the process of becoming an Instructor. Even when you’ve passed you get paid almost nothing anyway, so I can’t imagine anyone does it for the money, and on the way you’re asked to observe and run endless unpaid sessions. But I’m really looking forward to spending occasional afternoons teaching Exeter kids to cycle on safely on roads.

Toby and Ben, two of our guides, are already accredited Bikeability instructors, so this summer you can expect the Chain Gang to be advising on correct cycling procedure as we carouse our way around the vineyards of Burgundy, Tuscany, the Loire Valley et al.

If you do hear any of us shouting out things like “Guard your lane”, or “primary position as you approach the junction”, please, please feel free to push us into a hedge. And I’m not sure whether winetasting is covered in the National Standard – I might have to conduct a little risk assessment on that. Risk Assessment? Don’t get me started!

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