Wheely Tots is a charity that believes all children should be healthy, confident and resilient.
They make this possible by providing free access to cycling equipment and facilities through inclusive family-oriented events and sessions. The group provide cycling support for the whole family, and they specialise in parent and toddler balance bike sessions for children aged 14 months upwards.
Wheely Tots’ recent informal survey found that 40 out of 50 families who said they would love to cycle with their toddlers felt they needed proper support to begin. Further, many parents were afraid to let their children cycle in London because of the perceived dangers. The project addresses these worries through activities that focus on cycling safely and confidently, to maximise children’s comfort and enjoyment from a very early stage.
The project is based at the Redmond Community Centre, and around Finsbury Park and Clissold Park. The project stems directly from conversations with local families, and the people involved come from different social and economic backgrounds around the area.
Wheely Tots’ parent & toddler balance bike sessions take place every Wednesday and Thursday, with professional bike mechanics and cycle instructors also on hand to give parents tips on family cycling.
Once a month the group holds "Ride" sessions to have conversations with families about cycling in London and provide helpful advice, with the opportunity to try out balance bikes and other cycling equipment. All of this spreads the word and helps families realise what's possible and what support is available.
“Family cycling in London can be tricky but there is a surprising amount of opportunity and gentle support available for families, especially those with young children. Starting out with a balance bike is a great way to help families start their cycling journey." - David, project founder
“Leading Wheely Tots sessions and helping parents and their toddlers is really varied and rewarding, and as a cycling instructor it helps me to see my work from different angles!” - James, session leader
Wheely Tots hopes to continue running regular events at different levels as the participants in their existing parent and toddler balance bike sessions improve their skills and start to think about cycling more as a family.
Wheely Tots has also taken video footage at Ride events and aim to use these videos to spread the word about the project, and increase participation throughout the borough and eventually throughout London.