WHEN motorists first take to the road it is after many hours of tuition and at least one stringent driving test.
But anyone can ride a push bike on the same streets without any guidance – a scary thought when it comes to children especially.
That’s what Transition Chesterfield is trying to change with its new project to inspire and help people access pedal power.
From Bikeability training to mechanical skills, building a cargo bike to roadshows, it aims to make cycling a realistic form of transport with the greater aim of reducing climate change.
As a bike novice I was able to try the beginners one-day training course.
Our group learned about vital bike checks and adjustments first before riding around local Chesterfield routes to work on skills at a number of junctions and tests.
Three simple things stood out to me after the course.
First was that you should stand on the left hand side of your bike – which means no faffing on the busy road before setting off.
The second was what instructors call “the lifesaver look”. A quick over-the-shoulder check which could mean the difference between safety and disaster.
And the third was how well suited Chesterfield is to cycling. From Queen’s Park to Somersall Park is the work of mere minutes and up to Holmebrook Valley Country Park a manageable stretch.
By the end of the day we were taking roundabouts with confidence thanks to the £5 course.
Instructor Andrew Holdaway said: “Cycling is good for the environment, your health and a free and much relaxing way to travelling I find.
“A lot of people are nervous about riding on the road, if you know what you should be and shouldn’t be doing you feel a lot more comfortable.”
The cycle project, called Fossil Fuel to Pedal Power, has been boosted by a £7,653 Climate Friendly Communities Grant from Climate East Midlands, delivered through Groundwork East Midlands.
It also includes training for more advanced cyclists who want to hone their road skills, with mechanic skills to come, and a cycle roadshow touring events this year.
Work in partnership with Chesterfield Cycle Campaign will also support the construction of a cargo bike that can transport items.
For more details, or to book, call Mr Holdaway on (01246) 210704 or email adholdaway @yahoo.co.uk.