Cycling is a very good form of exercise and travel. It is fun, keeps you fit and gives you independence.
You should be ready to cycle to school if:
- you are an experienced cyclist with a high degree of road awareness
- you know how to ride your bike with confidence
You shouldn’t cycle to school or on public roads if:
- you are new to cycling
- you feel nervous and lack confidence on your bike
To improve your cycling you should try:
The more you cycle, the better and safer you will become.
Clean Air Heroes
Clean Air Heroes is an active travel points-based activity for infant, junior and primary schools located within Essex. Schools set themselves targets for active travel to school – walking, scooting and cycling – and are sponsored to achieve this by Colchester Zoo, raising money to save rhinos in Africa. It’s completely free to take part, so find out more on the Clean Air Heroes website.
Looking after your bike
Cycle maintenance checks should be carried out regularly to ensure your bike is safe. This includes checking:
- Brakes are working properly
- Tyres have a good tread and are inflated to the correct pressure
- Gears and chain are properly adjusted
- Handlebars and saddle are at the correct height and position
- Front and rear lights and reflectors are working and clean
You should also:
- Have a bell fitted and use it with consideration to alert other road users to your presence
- Wear fluorescent or reflective clothing
- Wear a cycle helmet and don’t worry about ‘helmet hair’. Nine out of ten cyclists who are involved in road accidents suffer head injuries, so make sure you’re not one of them.
Once you get to school with your bike, you want to be sure it will still be there when it is time to go home. You should also:
- Park safely and considerately; never leave your bike in a place where it will be a danger or obstruction to others
- Always lock your bike when leaving it, even if it is only for a few minutes
- Secure your bike to proper stands or robust street furniture where appropriate
- Lock your bike through the frame, not the wheels
- Secure or remove wheels
- Remove smaller parts and accessories that can't be secured, especially lights, pumps and quick-release saddles
There are lots of organised cycling events which you might want to take part in. For example, Bike to School and Bike to Work Weeks, National Bike Week, National Car Free Day, Environment Day, and Festival of Cycling. For more information visit the websites listed below.
Some schools organise events including marking your postcode on your bike, which increases the chance of recovering it if it is lost or stolen. They also organise Dr Bike or Bike MOT sessions which will check your bike and show you how to maintain it.
- Sustrans has details of the Bike It project which encourages children to cycle to school.
- CTC has details of the national standards for cycle training and lots of information for all types of cyclists.