Accredited sessions are offered by Pedal Power in cycling skills and maintenance - at a range of levels. Call them on 01524 65328 to register your interest.
Bikeability is the Cycling Proficiency Test for the 21st century, designed to give the next generation the skills and confidence to ride their bikes on today's roads. We currently offer Bikeability training to Yrs 5, 6 and 7 in all our Bike It Schools.
The Salt Ayre Cog Set, Lancasterís cycling club for young people, runs every Saturday morning at Salt Ayre at 10am. Everyone is welcome, whether new to cycling or experienced in the sport - all you need is a working bike and a helmet. Children younger than eight are able to take part as long as parents accompany them for the session.
More information at http://cogset.org.uk
Drop in cycling sessions every Saturday at 11am from Salt Ayre Sports centre. These sessions are free and a few bikes are available to loan (these must be booked in advance). Sessions last for an hour and a half and offer a great opportunity to get fit, meet new people and explore the local area. Open to all abilities although not suitable for complete beginners. No need to book Ė just turn up!
Struggling to keep hold of those New Year resolutions of keeping fit, losing weight and saving money in 2009?
Why not achieve all three and take up cycling!
In the latest of our special cycling features, Lancaster City Council Bike Buddy Dave Horton offers some advice on how to get you off to a smooth start.
If you cycle regularly, cycling is easy and straightforward. But for people just starting out, itís getting to that point which is the hard part! If youíre thinking of getting a bike, or getting out on the bike youíve already got, itís important to bear in mind that Ė like everything Ė itíll get easier with time. Meanwhile, here are a few tips to make those early bike rides go more smoothly.
First of all, itís worth thinking about equipment. Most obviously, this means a bike!
If youíre buying a bike, it makes sense to pause and think about what youíre most likely to use it for. Cyclingís a lot easier, and much more fun, on a bike thatís right for the job. So you really donít want energy-sapping suspension and thick, knobbly tyres if most of your riding will be around town. Also bear in mind that you get what you pay for. If you want to enjoy cycling, and to keep riding, buying the cheapest bike you can find is not the best option. Better bikes tend to cost a bit more (not a lot more, but a bit more), and are worth every penny.
If youíre pulling a bike from the back of the shed, spend a bit of time checking it over before going for a ride. Itís soul-destroying to plan a bike trip and then, just before you go, pulling your bike out to discover itís got a puncture, or the gears donít work properly. If you know someone who knows a bit about bikes, ask them to help Ė theyíll more than likely be glad to get you on your way. Small things like oiling the chain, pumping tyres to the right pressure, and getting your saddle and handlebars to the right height all make for a much more enjoyable ride.
Then thereís your biking bits and bobs. Although it might seem like itís all getting more complicated and costly than youíd imagined, itís definitely worth getting what you need to make cycling comfortable. So donít be afraid to spend a bit of money to get yourself properly set up. Donít worry, cycling will save you money (as well as making you fitter, healthier and happier) but only if you invest in some sensible purchases at the outset.
If you get nothing else, get mudguards! Youíre riding in north-west England! Thatís lucky for you, because itís such a beautiful place to ride. But it can also be wet! Without a rear mudguard, wet roads give you a splattered back and wet bum. Without a front one, youíll get wet feet. With two mudguards, youíve a fighting chance of staying dry.
Iíd also strongly recommend you get a rear rack, and a pannier or two to hang off it. Panniers are bags specially designed to hang from a rack. Carrying stuff in panniers is much easier than carrying it on your back, or having a plastic bag dangling off your handlebars. Also, always having a bag on your bike makes it much easier to carry the other things itís often wise to have to hand Ė a lock, lights, rain jacket and (if youíre going more than a mile or two) a pump and spare inner tube.
Once youíre properly set up, itís time to ride! Here, the golden rule is to plan your route. Be aware that the route you already know between two places, perhaps from driving, is often not the best cycling route. Weíve got some fantastic off-road routes in this district, and thereís all manner of little short-cuts you can take on a bike Ė itís worth making use of them. So if you know someone who already cycles, ask them to help you figure out the best route. Also get a local cycling map (available free from the Town Halls, libraries and elsewhere), or make use of the City Councilís free Bike Buddy service. Weíre here to help!
If you can, do your early journeys with a friend or relative. You can egg each other along, provide one another with a bit of reassurance, or at least have a good laugh together! And thereíll be someone with whom you can share the tale afterwards.
Thinking about all this stuff might sound like a hassle, but in actual fact Ė like everything else in life - you soon get used to it. And once youíre properly set up, you can concentrate on enjoying yourself.
And thatís my final tip. Enjoy yourself! Once youíre up and pedalling, thereís a whole new world out there waiting to be explored. On a bike, your stale old journeys will take on a fresh new lease of life. And make use of our superb local cycling routes to give your social life a boost too - along the canal for a pub lunch, out to Morecambe or Glasson for ice-cream, or to the Crook oíLune for a picnic. Youíll be very glad you made the effort.
Dave is one of the Districtís Bike Buddies. If you want a Bike Buddy to help you with getting started on your bike, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively why not cycling along to Salt Ayre every Saturday morning from January 17 where the CDT Team will be holding Healthy Wheels cycling and training sessions. Sessions start at 11am and last for an hour and a half offering a great opportunity for you to get fit, meet new people and explore the local area.
The sessions are open to all abilities, however, they arenít suitable for complete beginners. Thereís no need to book - just turn up.
If you're a seasoned cyclist, you'll probably already appreciate that the time spent cleaning and maintaining your bike can avoid costly repairs in the long run and help keep you safe on your travels.
For all those who are new to cycling or lucky enough to be getting one for Christmas, here's some advice from the council's Cycling Demonstration Town Team on how to keep your bike in tip top condition and fit for the road.
You should get into the habit of checking your bike regularly. A good way of doing this is the ĎMí check which ensures you donít miss anything: start with the front hub and wheel, up to the handlebars, down to the bottom bracket, back up to the saddle and end at the back wheel, looking out for potential trouble-spots in between.
Every time you take your bike out, carry out a simple pre-ride check including the brakes, tyres, nuts and bolts (and anything that might fall off or get stuck). Using a specialist cleaner, or just plain old detergent, to wipe down your frame regularly will be a much easier task than trying to remove layers of dirt that have been allowed to accumulate over the weeks. If you have had a busy day cycling in mud, it is best to give your bike a wipe down as soon as you return home. You may be tired but it is a chore that will benefit both you and your bike.
Keep your tyres well pumped up as this reduces the likelihood of punctures. Pumped up tyres take less energy to ride on as they give less drag and wear out more slowly. Check your manual (or tyres) for recommended pressure. Also make sure to check for wear and tear.
Whenever you come to put a bolt or a cable back on your bike, you should lubricate it with a touch of grease. Specialist bike grease is available.
Get yourself a mini tool kit. This should include a multi tool, a small adjustable spanner, a pump, grease and oil, cleaning rags, tyre levers, spare inner tube and a puncture repair kit.
For more advice visit www.cyclingforfun.co.uk and www.bike-maintenance.com.
For details of maintenance courses and drop-in sessions, call Pedal Power on 01524 65328 or email email@example.com.
Also keep an eye out for Doctor Bike appearing at a cycling event near you.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for a bike:
ē Your child should be able to stand over the bicycle with both feet flat on the floor
ē Whilst sitting on the seat s/he should be able to place the balls of his/her feet on the ground.
ē Sitting on the seat, s/he must be able to comfortably reach the handlebars and squeeze the handbrakes.
ē Get a bike simple enough for your child to handle and let her/him test ride it if possible.
ē Donít buy a bike which is too big for your child in the hope that s/he will grow into it.
Shop at your local bike shop. A bike from a local specialist will have been assembled properly and they will be able to offer you some useful advice. Please see discount vouchers below.
You get what you pay for. Buy the best bike you can - a good bike will last for years, can stand up to kid abuse and, with good maintenance, can be sold once your child has outgrown it. A good quality second hand bike may be better value than a cheap new one.
Less can be more. A lighter, simpler bike is easier to pedal and to move around. A bike with lots of features like suspension and disc brakes will probably be heavier, poorer quality and harder to maintain than a simple one of a similar price.
Learners - buy a bike with easily removable pedals or a pedalless trainer bike. The best way for kids to learn to balance is by scooting on a bike without pedals.
Safety Accessories. If your child will be cycling to and from school in winter or at other times when it may be dark please make sure they have lights and reflectors on their bikes, and that they wear high viz clothing. Helmets reduce the chance of a head injury in a crash, but only if they fit properly. Higher-quality helmets will be much easier to adjust. Let your kids pick out a model they like.
More Advice. For more buying advice and information visit www.bikeforall.net or www.whycycle.co.uk.
Remember: A properly fitted, high-quality bicycle is safer. Investing a little time and money will go a long way to make sure your child has a great Christmas and a ĎHappy Cycling New Year!í