British parents facing cycling crisis

40 per cent of parents in Britain haven’t ridden a bike in the past year, according to a new survey of modern attitudes to cycling put to British parents by HSBC UK and British Cycling.

Despite nearly three-quarters of all parents believing that teaching children to cycle is an important life skill, the research has highlighted a reluctance to ride, especially by female parents. Almost half of all female parents across the country haven’t ridden a bike in the past year and neither have over a third of male parents.

One-third of parents said that their child couldn’t ride a bike. This comes just months after the Government’s publication ‘Childhood obesity: a plan for action’ called for “more to encourage children to be active every day. Every primary school child should get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day.”

In response to the news, HSBC UK and British Cycling have launched HSBC UK Ready Set Ride initiative with the aim of helping children from as young as 18 months to eight years old learn to ride a bike.

The campaign is supported by BBC television presenter Helen Skelton, a mother to two children, who is calling for more parents to get out on their bikes with their children to help give them a life skill that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.

Skelton commented: “There are few experiences that can rival the sheer adventure of getting out on a bike with your kids and seeing them enjoy the sense of freedom and fun that cycling gives. Learning to ride is not only a vital life skill for children, it’s also an opportunity to spend time together with the whole family.

“Guidance can really help. HSBC UK Ready Set Ride gives parents the confidence and techniques needed to teach their children how to cycle in just a few simple steps. You don’t even need a bike for the first step so it’s easy to get started. It’s an investment parents make in their own children’s development that leads to great experiences the whole family can enjoy for years to come.”

Julie Harrington, chief executive at British Cycling, added: “We can’t turn Britain into a great cycling nation without first equipping our children with the vital skills they need to ride a bike from a young age. We want families, as well as schools, to introduce pedalling to playtime and be part of a child’s journey as they learn to ride, helping them to become confident and happy cyclists for life.

“It’s often said you never forget how to ride a bike. Likewise, you never forget those moments when you teach your child how to first ride a bike either, and we hope that HSBC UK Ready Set Ride will support parents around the country on that journey for many years to come.”

HSBC UK Ready Set Ride is designed to be used at home, within schools and by any individual who wants to help children learn to ride. The tool breaks down learning to ride a bike into three steps: Prepare 2 Ride, Balance and Pedals. Each of the steps is supported by games and activities to develop a child’s skills both on and off the bike, and is suitable for children as young as eighteen months. Using its knowledge of children’s psychological and physical development, national children’s charity The Youth Sport Trust has guided the development of the product and its implementation into schools.

The programme forms part of HSBC UK and British Cycling’s eight-year partnership, which aims to inspire two million more people in the UK to get on their bikes by 2020.

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