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Confidence boosted by new-found cycling skills

28 November 2012

Confidence boosted by new-found cycling skills

Local events such as the Porirua Grand Traverse could have dozens more cycling entries in coming years, thanks to the KiwiSport-funded initiative Pedal Ready.

Almost 60 pupils at both Russell School and Corinna School in Porirua have completed the basic cycling skills programme. Many children got on a bike for the first time and finished Pedal Ready with greater overall confidence.

Since October, 45 Year 5 and 6 Corinna School pupils have learned about helmet and bike safety checks and practised their balance, control skills and hand signals. They’ve also found out how a bike operates.

“Many children couldn’t ride a bike before we began the programme,” says Year 5 and 6 teacher Liam Smiley. “By the end they were really buzzing and very excited by the fact they were riding a bike. The programme gave them confidence and motivation and most picked the skills up really fast.”

Pedal Ready is available free of charge to school children in the Wellington region and is split into two grades: the initial grade provides three, one- hour sessions teaching bike handling and cycle control in an off-road environment; grade two training takes place on roads in realistic conditions.

Earlier this year several senior students at Russell School completed both Pedal Ready grades. Principal Sose Annandale said the improvement in pupil’s interest in cycling, confidence and competence was remarkable.

en Velo received $107,500 from KiwiSport through Sport Wellington to deliver Pedal Ready to schools in the Wellington area over the next three years, in partnership with the Greater Wellington Regional Council. Already more than 450 children from 12 schools throughout the region have completed the basic cycling skills programme. In addition about 30 adults have attended instructor training sessions.

Pedal Ready regional coordinator Marilyn Northcotte says learning to work the myriad of moving parts on a bike – pedals, handle bars, brakes and gears – all simultaneously, helps children to exercise their manipulative skills, coordination and body sense.

“As children learn cycling skills they develop body awareness and explore movement. They gain balance and learn about transferring their weight. Children also learn about relationships to people and objects as they copy the instructor, follow their peers and move in and out of obstacles,” says Marilyn.

The course also prepares children for future riding – whether that is out with friends or family, on the bmx track, riding on the road, mountain biking or participating in events such as the Porirua Grand Traverse.

KiwiSport Manager Peter Woodman-Aldridge says Pedal Ready is a programme which motivates children to get out and enjoy riding a bike safely. “The Wellington region has hundreds of kilometres of bike trails in which kids can use. Pedal Ready gives them the opportunity and motivation to use these new-found cycling skills.”

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