The family cycling adventure is a place for primary school children and their parents to develop and practise their cycling skills. Groups of 6-8 families are accompanied by two trained instructors as well as a number of volunteers per session. The primary target is families who do not cycle currently or have not cycled before.
All sessions begin inside a hall of decent size (community centre, church, etc.), eventually moving onto roads as families become more confident; they are also provided with basic maintenance training and advice on bike storage to suit all families (i.e. high rise buildings) and purchasing affordable bikes. At the end of every term, there is an opportunity to go on an adventure ride, which is planned by the staff, volunteers and parents – this ride is both on and off-road cycling and should be treated as an end of term celebration. The purpose of the adventure ride is to show families how cycling can be a fun activity, and hopefully they will continue to partake in their own adventures after the project.
The project has the added value of providing quality and bonding time for the families, as both parent and child are learning a new skill, and to encourage social integration between families.
Volunteers should be recruited to assist in the delivery of the session – preferably avid cyclists. As the project develops, opportunities for them to up-skill so that they can take the place of an instructor should be given, so that the sessions can be run with just one instructor.
Sessions should take place once a week during school term times, sessions last 2 hours and take place after school and work (5-7pm).
Target audience and engagement
• The key target audience is families with primary school aged children. Where possible the project should be offered to low income families, or those with no access to bikes.
• Engagement is through schools and children’s provisions in the area. Twitter and social media can also help to reach those who might not fully engage with children’s schools.
• Posters and flyers, available both at events and for targeted promotion, help to spread the word by traditional methods.
• Medium (50–70 participants including family members)
• Geographically - any community centre or local building
• Adult and child bikes of various sizes
• Helmets of various sizes
• Maintenance kit
• Basic spare bike parts
• Hi-Vis vests
• Cycle Instructor x2 :
-Run the cycling sessions
-Ensure participants feel confident and well looked-after
-Must be a qualified and experienced instructor, preferably with experience working with families
• Project Manager:
-Oversee the project ensuring the participants feel safe and are enjoying their time
-Ensure all funding criteria and documentation is met (if required)
-Run risk assessment for safeguarding, injuries and to identify any other concerns which may affect project delivery
-Gather feedback from participants
-The Project Lead should have the requisite level of DBS and understand health and safety needs (preferably First Aid trained)
-Help participants with the sessions and provide encouragement
-Contribute to overseeing activity and potentially fix any equipment issues
-Eventually overtake one instructor's role to reduce the overall cost of the project
• Storage space:
-You will need somewhere to store equipment. This can be at the building you run the sessions (providing there is the space, and you have permission), alternatively you could ask at a community centre, or perhaps another local business that has storage room. Your Council may be able to provide you with information on who to contact. You could also use a shipping container, see if anyone is willing to lend you one, otherwise you could buy one as a last resort. Try to keep this as close to the location of the sessions as possible.
Estimated project costs
• Child bikes of different sizes (£100 per bike) x8 £800
• Adult bikes of different sizes (£200 per bike) x8 £1,600
• Cycle Instructor x 2 £1,800
• Helmets (adult and child) £500
• Maintenance kit and spare parts £150
• Project Manager £900
• Volunteer expenses x 2 £200
• Hi-Vis vests £40
• Community hall hire £0 – £1,000 (depending on location and whether you have this amenity already)
• Storage (if applicable) £500
Top tips/key learnings
• In the group sessions, try to keep the number of participant’s low, maximum 8 families per session. This makes them less intimidating, and people are more likely to form closer friendships. It also means participants get much more one-to-one time with the instructor and volunteers.
• Try to keep the sessions fun and relaxed
• Ensure you involve the parents in the planning of the adventure ride, so that they can plan their own rides after the project
• It’s good to measure whether participants are more or less confident in riding a bike, or whether they feel encouraged to try riding bikes more. This is done by a ‘hands up’ survey or with a questionnaire, where participants are asked to confirm or not, certain statements about their view of cycling.
• Make sure parents and carers feel their child is safe (so they don’t feel the need to be by their side all the time) – this will allow children to engage in peer to peer teaching, and parents and carers to engage with each other.
Maximising local contacts
• Utilise networks to recruit participants or even get in kind support. (Volunteer organisations and local centres, community centres, schools, etc.)
• Engage with your council – they may be able to lend you equipment, help market the project and help secure a space.
• You might find that a local shop is willing to provide water and snacks, or that a local café is happy for you to direct participants to them for toilet facilities.
This project idea was provided by Aston-Mansfield - Twitter
If you decide to run your own version of this project in your community, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love to hear that we are inspiring people to walk and cycle.