There’s been a great deal of interest lately in encouraging people to use bicycles instead of cars as a means of transport.
But not everyone is confident about riding a bike at the best of times, let alone m the middle of a city like London. Jack Hays is a professional trainer who works for a London-based company, CitiCyclist, which provides cycle training for the public What exactly does CitiCyclist do. Jack?
Well, our basic purpose is lo promote cycling as a sustainable form of transport. We believe the best way to promote cycling is to teach people to use their bikes safely and with confidence.
In European countries, people all learned from their parents, and they also learned in school, and when I tell them i teach people to ride bikes they laugh. Let's say.
But here in London it's completely different, you're approaching the point where a whole generation of people have grown up not being allowed by their parents to cycle, because it was considered to be getting too dangerous, and so in turn, they can't teach their children ...
We believe in realistic training, so if someone wants to use a bike regularly, say to get to work or school, we aim to train them by teaching them to ride on the actual roads they'll use. so they can develop the basic skills they need and build up their confidence that way.
At CitiCyclist we believe cycling's for everyone, no matter what age or level of ability or mobility. We do complete beginners and also advanced courses - that's for urban cyclists who want to deal with things like riding in streets with complicated intersections and things like that.
We don’t promote the use of personal protective equipment for cyclists and we endorse the policy of the European Cyclists federation that parents should be allowed to make an informed choice as to whether or not their child wears a helmet.
We believe the key to safe cycling is assertiveness - taking your place on the road. This has to be led right from the beginning. Assertive road positioning and behaviour is the key to safe cycling in congested urban environments.
Some people are surprised that we don't promote the segregation of cyclists from motorised traffic, but we don't think that's practical in all urban environments. Instead, we teach people to use as much road space as they need to travel safely and effectively.
Now as well as courses for individuals, CitiCyclist provides a number of services for organisations, for example, we can deliver fun, safe cycle-training activities at schools, arranging courses so that the disruption of curriculum time is kept to a minimum.
As well as this, in order to promote safe cycling we have provided training courses for employees and staff of local councils.
And we are also increasingly looking at developing training courses in companies in order to help employers work towards green transport plans by helping to increase the number of staff cycling to work.
Right, so that's a brief summary of what we do. If any listeners would like to find out more about the organisation, you can have a look at our website - that's citicyclist.co.uk. And in order to book lessons, you can either phone us on 020 7562 4028. or do it online - there’s an application form on our website, and you can just download that and send it in.
We charge £27.50 per hour for one-to-one lessons plus £6.00 for each extra person - so you're looking at just £39.50 for a family of three, say. If you've never been on a bike in your life before, we reckon we can get you riding in one hour, and for most people a course of road training usually takes three hours.
But whether you're a parent or a child, an individual or an institution, we'll be happy to discuss your special needs and make a programme just for you.