The Wokingham Paper

Double win for borough in national cycling training awards

PIC BY STEWART TURKINGTON www.stphotos.co.uk

THE BOROUGH council has been awarded for its commitment to promoting active and sustainable travel.

Earlier this month, it was presented the Bikeability Trust’s Local Authority Partner of the Year 2020 Award for its My Journey Wokingham programme which aims to reduce congestion, improve local air quality and increase activity levels while training young people to ride bikes.

Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, executive member for highways and transport at WBC, said: “The fantastic cycling training scheme our My Journey team runs for primary school pupils sets them up to love cycling for life.

“Training them to ride safely on the road means they will be far more likely to travel by bike in their leisure time, use it for exercise or to help them get to school.

“It also helps the council towards its carbon neutral by 2030 goal, improves air quality and, vitally, reduces congestion on our roads.”

Bikeability — the Department for Transport’s national provider for cycle training in England — has also praised the council for their efforts to deliver as much cycle training in the borough as possible, recognising it as the best local authority in the country for Bikeability cycle training for young people.

Successes of the training programme include 100% of the borough’s schools receiving cycling training for its year 5 and 6 pupils of which 78% ride independently in just two sessions. The sessions are also regularly adapted to include special educational needs and disabilities provision.

Wokingham parent, Anne-Marie Lansley said: “My daughter has autism and ADHD. Without the support from the Bikeability instructors she would never have learnt to ride a bike.

“The instructors were patient, they supported her, gave her confidence and made it fun to learn to ride.”

The My Journey project also includes Doctor Bike events, adult cycle training, the Wokingham Bikeathon, workplace events and lunchtime rides, bike maintenance training courses, family rides and women-only confidence rides which run throughout the year.

And success is also being celebrated by Shinfield’s St Mary’s Junior School which was named runner-up in the category of Most Proactive Primary School.

Driven by its vision of enabling every child in the school to ride a bike, the school has funded a Bikeability instructor to run Learn to Ride sessions before and after school, purchased a range of bikes and helmets for use by pupils from disadvantaged families, and installed a bicycle hub and bike racks.

Matthew Lappin, head of PE at the school, said: “Shinfield St. Mary’s CofE Junior School is overjoyed to be recognised as one of the leading schools in the country when it comes to promoting positive cycling opportunities for primary-aged children.

“The parent engagement towards cycling in the school has been overwhelming and we are very fortunate to have so many families who have shared our vision from the start.

“Our aim of creating confident and competent cyclists of the future continues to be met and we, as a school, are extremely proud of this.”

For more information about Wokingham Borough Council’s My Journey programme log on to www.MyJourneywokingham.com/events

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Adrian Betteridge

This is great news. But I’m less clear about what the children are supposed to do with these skills when it comes to sustainable transport. It’s hard to cycle into Wokingham centre and other destinations without using busy roads or mixing with pedestrians on the shared use pavements, with all the issues that creates. The MyJourney material is good (even if some of the quiet road selections are a bit optimistic) but overall it just feels like we’re doing the cheap / easy things rather than addressing the real issues that stop people cycling. I regularly advocate cycling to others… Read more »