Courses are available in the borough to help you get riding - whatever your age and circumstances, and whether you are learning to ride for the first time or want an opportunity to practice riding and grow your confidence. Cycling can be a very satisfying skill to learn, and once learned can help you keep fit and travel cheaply for life!
Bike repair skills classes are also available in the borough, teaching ways to adjust and adapt bikes to your personal requirements, how to keep bikes in good working order, and ensuring you feel prepared for the unexpected on your journeys such as punctures and thrown chains, which with the right know-how are quickly and easily fixed.
Learning to ride
Bikeability is the nationally recognised cycle proficiency programme for the 21st century. It teaches practical skills for all experience levels, with qualified and expert instructors available all year round.
Free learn to ride classes for adults this summer
This summer, we are able to offer free classes for adults looking to learn to ride. See the 'Cycle with confidence for adults' section below for dates and to book.
Learning to ride at school
Most borough primary schools have been equipped with a variety of childrens' bikes, to give pupils the chance to experience riding bikes in school playgrounds from an early age as part of classes, clubs and break times. This includes 'balance bikes' without peddles that are suitable for children to try in early years classes and Year 1.
Bikeability courses are then offered to all school children in the borough from Year 4 to Year 8 (age range 8 - 14 years old) predominantly through their school. Courses are booked during school hours with the school organising the training and communicating with parents.
All three levels of Bikeability training are offered, starting with the basics of learning how to control the bike and progresses through to riding on the road with other traffic, including understanding junctions and route planning.
- Bikeability Level 1: offered to all Year 4 children (8-9 years old). This course takes place in a traffic-free environment (usually the school playground). It includes skills training to increase confidence for young riders who can already ride a bike, and will include fun activities and games. This group does not go on the road at any time
- Bikeability Level 2: offered to all Year 5 and 6 children (9-11 years old). This course lasts for six hours, split over two days. The first hour is in a traffic-free environment to establish that the children are safe to go on to quiet roads for the remainder of the training. Then children progress to supervised on-road riding on quiet roads with light traffic where pupils can gain an understanding of 'rights of way', road positioning, and using junctions.
- Bikeability Level 3: this course is aimed at competent riders who regularly ride their bike. The course lasts for three hours with a maximum of six pupils per group. Pupils will be taken into busier traffic conditions learning to interact with more hazardous conditions such as roundabouts, multi-lane roads, traffic light-controlled junctions and roads with over 30mph speed limits. The course also teaches journey planning techniques.
Bikeability courses in schools are supported nationally by a government grant, so the borough is able to offer these courses with only a very small fee that covers the venue and admin cost of hosting the courses. (Parents claiming free school meals for their child are exempt from the charge.)
School holiday courses
Some schools also offer Bikeability classes during school holidays. Check with your child's school for information on what is currently being offered and how to book a place. As with classes during school term time above, these courses are financially supported by a government grant and there is only a small fee to cover venue hire and admin costs, with parents claiming free school meals for their child exempt from charges.
If you would like to learn to ride, or if you are a parent looking to help your child learn to ride outside of school, our cycle training provider Bespoke Cycling Instruction offer 'learn to ride' sessions. These sessions carry a cost which is determined by and payable to Bespoke.
Cycle with confidence sessions for adults
If it has been a while since you have been on a bike then a cycle confidence session could be just what you need to get going again.
During the summer months we are offering free sessions that will give you a chance to practice and build back your confidence to ride on the road. The sessions will include looking at safe positioning in the road, how to navigate junctions, and how to plan your journeys.
Our instructors will also be able to support adults looking to learn to ride for the first time in these sessions.
There is an option for ladies that would prefer a female-only learning environment to specify this when making their booking.
All sessions are now closed for 2023. We hope to offer this service again in 2024. Watch this space for 2024 dates.
Here are some testimonials from this year’s participants:
“My highlight was that I EVENTUALY rode a bike as an adult! Having never ridden a bike before. But truly, I’m thankful to the instructors who were patient and encouraging. They never gave up even when I was struggling (and I was literally the last person to get it). They encouraged and gave a gentle push, literally! That seemed to do the trick. I’m thankful for the help”
“I have cycled in the past but not for 15 years and had completely lost my confidence to cycle. David (the instructor) encouraged me to turn up even though I was hesitant. The calm assured coaching ensured that in no time I was pedalling, and a little faster. I intend to attend again….!”
“It was an amazing course and I was impressed with what I learned about safety on my bike being on the roads. It has given me great confidence to carry on cycling.”
“From putting on my helmet to checking the bike before riding as well as learning where to position myself before turning was invaluable. I have gained so much confidence and will put my new skills to good use I am sure. Thank you guys.”
Bike repair skills
Maidenhead Cycle Hub offer 'workshop' classes for adults looking to learn how to maintain and service their bikes, which can help you to feel prepared for the unexpected on journeys such as fixing punctures and thrown chains.
If instead you're looking for an expert to fix your bike for you, there are also shops and organisations around the borough that specialise in bike repair services.