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Published: 7th JUNE 2024

How the Active Journeys Programme helped pupils from a north Wales school to learn to cycle

After reaching out to their local Active Journeys Officer, school staff at Ysgol Cymerau in Pwllheli took part in a cycling training session. They first learned from professionals before teaching basic bicycle maintenance and cycling skills to a group of pupils that couldn’t cycle before.

Pupils from Ysgol Cymerau posing for a photograph on their school yard on their bikes, wearing helmets.

Pupils from Ysgol Cymerau in Pwllheli learned how to ride bikes after taking part in the session with Sustrans and school staff.

Through the Welsh Government-funded Active Journeys Programme, schools across Wales can register to get support in building the confidence and skills of their pupils where active travel is concerned.

Earlier this year, Ysgol Cymerau in Pwllheli worked with Sustrans Cymru to help facilitate a cycling training session.

A number of the school’s pupils either couldn’t ride a bike or had never been on one before.

Thanks to some collaborative working between the school and the Active Journeys Programme, that would soon change.


Identifying a gap for developing skills and knowledge

Ruth is a new volunteer for Sustrans, who has been working with Debbie, our Active Journeys Officer in northwest Wales, over the past few months.

Ruth was on-hand to help take part in the delivery of some bike training sessions, facilitated by the school’s active travel champion, Janet.

After covering off the basics around equipment and maintenance, the group – made up of classroom assistants, teachers, Ruth, and two of Sustrans’ Active Journeys Officers – moved onto some techniques on how to teach children to ride.

Once they’d received that training from NCA Academy, the group then went about passing on their new knowledge to the pupils.

Their learners ranged from 7 to 11 years old, with children that couldn’t ride a bike, some never having been on one before.

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I'm so happy I've learned to ride a bike by myself, it was something I wanted to do for years. Blockquote quotation marks
Ysgol Cymerau Pupil

Empowering children to learn new skills and build confidence

Within an hour or so, most of the pupils were able to ride around by themselves, pedalling around the yard.

“It was amazing for me to be able to help some of these children to gain the confidence to handle the bikes and learn to scoot, then push off, and then to ride,” said Ruth about the experience.

“I gain much pleasure from cycling and enjoy passing this on to our younger generations.”

The feedback from the pupils were as amazing as the results of the session.

“I’m so happy that I’ve learned to ride a bike by myself, it was something I wanted to do for years; my friends all could, but I couldn’t,” said one pupil.


Changing the lives of pupils in Wales

One of the major success stories was a pupil who had previously attended cycling training sessions but hadn’t had any joy with it.

“I never thought that she was ever going to learn to ride a bike,” Ms Rivers, the pupil’s parent explained.

“We’ve tried over and over these past years to no avail, but after an hour’s session with Sustrans’ Active Journeys Officers and volunteer, she succeeded to independently ride a bike around the school yard.

“Since the session, she rode her bike to school and took part in the ‘Bws Beic’ which was organized by the school staff.

“It’s just brilliant how quickly she’s caught on and is so enthusiastic now about riding her bike – I’m so proud of her.”

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