Cycling Participation Programme
We want to inspire children and their parents to ride bicycles as a fun way to get around and become familiar with the benefits of the natural environment where they live. Early learning and adoption of cycling skills could help to set the basis for a major behavioural change within our community.
The project will look to deliver a comprehensive cycling participation plan to four primary schools from Badenoch: Alvie, Kingussie, Newtonmore and Gergask (when re-opened) Primary Schools. The programme will be fully inclusive to ensure all children have the same opportunities. This will include professional coaching, bikes and transport from and back to schools for three of the sessions that will be carried out at the local mountain biking trail centre Laggan Wolftrax.
The programme will be based on the Go Mountain Biking Scheme (GoMTB) from Cycling Scotland, which is designed to develop skills and experience in off-road riding, from those learning basic bike handling skills to those riding long technical routes with advanced features.
The programme will consist of 4 x 4-hours sessions of which the first one is likely to be at the schools playground or equivalent introducing the children to basic cycling skills. This will be followed by the introduction to off-road cycling using the Green Trail at Wolftrax. Later in the year 2023 once the Blue trail has been built, we expect to introduce the children to this grade depending on their acquired abilities.
The sessions will provide the children with a flavour of the full Go Mountain Bike award, with the aim of providing a sound beginning in terms of bike skills and safety. All participants will receive a certificate of attendance and information on accessing further training.
There are four themes to the award and 5 levels within each theme for all levels of experience, from novice to expert. You can tailor the course to focus on skills that you're most interested in.
The themes are:
- Riding skills.
- Sharing the outdoors.
- First aid.
- Being independent and self-supporting.
- Which will teach:
- Develop an awareness of safety.
- Develop basic mountain bike skills.
- Develop specific mountain bike skills.
- Ride safely with concern for other users and the environment.
- Be suitably clothed and equipped for the situation
- Basic bike repairs.
- Become independent and continue to mountain bike as a sustainable and healthy activity.
- Awareness of the environmental benefits of cycling and its impact in reducing carbon emissions.
Professional cycling coaches will be hired to ensure the best training is given and a competent volunteer will assist the coach. Adequate bikes will be hired from a specialist bike shop so there is no bias within the group of children and all have access to good quality bikes. Transport will also be included from the schools to the trail centre and back to schools at the end of their sessions.
Alvie Primary School
A successful pilot programme was delivered in September-October 2022 with P5 students.
Mrs Riach, Headteacher at Alvie Primary said, “Primary 5 at Alvie have been extremely fortunate to join a recent pilot programme successfully delivered at Laggan Wolftrax, with 4 sessions provided by a professional coach. This has enabled the pupils to build their confidence and enjoy cycling on paths and tracks. All the children loved visiting the centre, even in the rain. Several have since been out on bike rides with their families as they feel ready to tackle the local paths in the area. It is always great for our pupils to take part in outdoor activities in the local area so they gain experience and can access the adventurous pursuits in Badenoch. We are so grateful to Laggan Forest Trust at Laggan Wolftrax for all their help and hope we get to do this again"