"Learning how to cycle properly makes cycling much more enjoyable and safer for everyone - children, adults and other road users" CTC the UK's national cyclists' organisation

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How long does it take? How trainees per instructor? How much does it cost?
Do I need a bike? How do I choose a bike? Do I need a helmet? How to fit a helmet?
Cycling for the disabled? Children with Special Educational Needs (SEN)?

How long does it take?

To learn to ride a bike

Well, it all depends, age matters, confidence matters, as do a lot of other factors.

Young children - 3-5 years can master the basics within an hour if I am lucky! Older youngsters have usually been reluctant to learn or scared at some point so take longer - up to 3 hours is not unusual.

Adults - are more variable 1, 2 and 5 lessons for my last three adults but one took 6 months! (I have since received photos of her up mountains with her bike).

Bikeability/National Standard Courses

Bikeability Level How long does it take? How many trainees per instructor?
Level 1 2-4 hours Up to twelve
Level 2 Approximately 4 hours Up to six (usually three)
Level 3 Approximately 3 hours Up to two(usually one to one)

Note that each level assumes that the previous level has been achieved.

These times can only be a guide. If your experience prior to starting a course is higher than expected then it will take less time. If you are particularly nervous or have less experience than anticipated then the course can take significantly longer

Smaller groups will generally progress faster than larger ones

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How much does it cost?

My charges cover a local (Stevenage) lesson. If I have to travel any distance I have to include some cost for travel.

I charge £25 per hour for an individual lesson.

Charges for groups reduce to £15 per person per hour.

Courses can be arranged, for details of the courses available please look at our course details table.

For larger or smaller groups or corporate bookings please contact me for a quote.

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How do I choose a bike?

There are so many types of bike to choose from. So how do you make up your mind?

Start out by working out what sort of riding you are interested in:

I have made some suggestions of bike styles to consider

Short local trips Longer trips
Road only Road and surfaced tracks All terrain including bridle paths etc Road only Road and surfaced tracks All terrain including bridle paths etc
Hybrid - flat handlebars Hybrid - flat handlebars Mountain bike - front suspension only Road bike - drop handlebars Hybrid - flat handlebars Mountain bike - front suspension
Shopper Mountain bike BMX - no gears so not good for distance Touring bike - drop or butterfly bars Touring bike - drop or butterfly bars Mountain bike - full suspension

Now look at how much you can afford to spend

In general - buy the best you can afford. You will get better quality, lighter weight components that will last longer the more you spend. Remember a lighter bike is less to push uphill!

Prices for adult bikes: a reasonable hybrid £200 upwards is about right. £300 will get you a good basic mountain bike (you can pay up to £4,000 for a top of the range full suspension machine). A basic road or touring bike will set you back about £400 (again prices go up and up for top of the range machines).

Warning - If you are buying for a child get them to pick up the bike. If they cannot easily lift it, then cycling will be hard work. Suspension is a heavy and mostly unecessary addition to a childs bike. They usually want it but rarely need it. Try to pursuade a child to only have front suspension if they must have it. My own mountain bike only has front suspension.

There are some links to good childrens bikes on the links page - I have no connections with any of the companies.

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Do I need a helmet?

I prefer my trainees to use a helmet. I wear one. If you or your child would rather cycle without one then that is your own choice.

I would rather you or they were out on bikes than not riding because you dont want to wear a 'lid'.

Here is a link to the CTC pages on the helmet debate.

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How to fit a helmet?

[note the following fitting guide was taken from www.bhsi.org]

Helmets are not just hats! They must be level on your head and strapped on securely to be protective in a crash.

You want the helmet to be level on the head, with the fitting pads inside touching all the way around and the strap comfortably snug.

First, adjust the fit pads or ring

Most helmets come with extra foam fitting pads to customize the fit. You can usually remove the top pad or use a thin one there to lower the helmet on the head, bringing its protection down further on the sides. Use thicker pads on the side if your head is narrow and there is a space, or add thicker pads in the back for rounder heads. Move pads around to touch your head evenly all the way around. If you have a ‘one size fits all’ model with a fitting ring instead, just adjust the fit by tightening the ring if needed.

Then, Adjust the Straps

Put the helmet on, level on your head. Adjust the rear (nape) straps, then the front straps, to locate the Y fitting where the straps come together just under your ear. You may have to slide the straps across the top of the helmet to get them even on both sides. Then adjust the chin strap so it is comfortably snug. Now adjust the rear stabilizer if the helmet has one.

Are you done?

Shake your head around violently. Then put your palm under the front edge and push up and back. Can you move the helmet more than an inch or so from level, exposing your bare forehead? Then you need to tighten the strap in front of your ear. Now reach back and pull up on the back edge. Can you move the helmet more than an inch? If so, tighten the nape strap. When you are done, your helmet should be level, feel solid on your head and be comfortable. It should not bump on your glasses (if it does, tighten the nape strap). If it still does not fit that way, keep working with the straps and pads, or try another helmet.

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Can you teach children with Special Educational Needs (SEN)?

If your child has some form of special educational need be it dyspraxia, Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis, ADHD or other issues please make sure that the instructor is aware of the problem before the lesson commences.

We have successfully taught children with such conditions but do need to know in advance because lessons may need to be modified to suit your child.

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What about cycling for the disabled?

Disability is no reason not to enjoy the independance and fun that cycling can bring. There are bikes of many kinds built for fun or serious competition that can help. Many are not even specifically designed for disabled people.

For people who simply have issues with balance then there are various three wheel (trike) solutions from from upright shopping styles right through to racing recumbants.

Riding on a tandem may be a solution for a blind or partially sighted person With a sighted 'captain' on the front the stoker can enjoy the freedom, sounds and smells of the great outdoors.

For wheelchair users there are special machines that can fasten to a wheelchair as either a solo or tandem configuration and also hand cycles since power is supplied by hands rather than feet.

We have a relatively local disability specialist dealer (Cambridgeshire) and a local repair man (Bicycle-SOS) who has experience of looking after unusual bikes.

If you want to ride then we will help you with finding solutions to your specific issues, find a bike that you can ride and then of course we can teach you to ride it safely and be a friend out on the road should you need one.

For some additional background information this guide to special needs cycling is available from the VeloVision magazine website along with loads of other interesting stuff!

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Do I need a bike?

I do not have any child size bikes for anyone to use (no storage space). So children need to have a bike that fits them.

I do have a folding bike that I can let adult trainees (and taller children) use. This is NOT a hire bike - you cannot take it away but it is always available.

I do have an arangement with a local bike hire centre (Hertford) who will allow trainees to hire bikes and then get a discount on subsequent purchase from them if you want.

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Contact Tina to discuss your requirements or book a course


07775 538830

Please leave a message, answerphone always on, I will get back to you.