The Scottish Cyclists' Union has joined forces with other cycling bodies to call for cycling activities to be made more widely available to children. In the land of the deep-fried Mars Bar, cycling could play a major role in the physical fitness of Scottish kids.

SCU calls for more on-road cycle training for kids

SCU Executive Officer, Jim Riach, said:

"In Scotland children suffer from lack of exercise, increasing levels of obesity, and an increasing dependence on car transport. Yet cycling is part of the solution to all of these problems. Quality delivery by qualified coaches and leaders would achieve these outcomes. Cycling is a unique activity in these respects, yet is only delivered as road safety training in a few schools."

Supporting the call for more cycling provision in schools are Spokes (the Lothian Cycle Campaign), Go-Bike (the Strathclyde Cycle Campaign), Sustrans, Scottish Cycling Development Project, the Highland Cycle Campaign and CTC Scotland.

Ian Maxwell, of Spokes, the Lothian Cycle Campaign, said: "On-road cycle training is really important for children. We know that many head-teachers would like to offer it within their schools but they are simply not given the resources necessary. A recent report from the Scottish Executive called for extra PE in schools whilst completely ignoring alternatives such as cycle training which are completely underfunded. If the government is really serious about children’s health and getting them physically active at an early age, then it should put the proper resources into schools for important life skills such as cycle training."

Pat Harrow, CTC Councillor for Scotland said: "Developing cycling skills at an early age is crucial to encourage cycling as a mode of transport at secondary school and in later life, encouraging a modal shift away from car dependency."

Brian Curtis, Chair of the Scottish Cycling Development Project said: "We wouldn’t expect people to drive cars without training. Neither would we expect to put our children in the deep end of the swimming pool without training. We need to have good cycling instruction available for all children."

And Commonwealth gold medallist Chris Hoy, from Edinburgh, has added his voice to the cycle bodies calling for change.

"Cycling is a great form of exercise for everyone but particularly for kids. It’s the number one physical activity outside of PE for girls and the number two for boys. I’ve been very fortunate to have had opportunities at a young age to learn about cycling, be taught new skills and encouraged to keep cycling. Most young people in Scotland don’t get that chance. All young people should have access to cycle training as well as opportunities to cycle to school, to cycle around their local area or to take part in cycle sport. Let’s get more cycling in schools."

The SCU-led campaign wants on-road cycle training to be available for all 10-12 year olds in Scotland. At present only 10 percent of 10-12 year-olds complete on-road training.

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