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Woody Cook launches e-bike proficiency scheme

Woody cook swerving around cones on a bike

DJ Woody Cook will be the first to trial a new ‘E-Bike Proficiency Course’, aimed at giving people confidence to get on two-wheels, after his confidence in cycling on the streets was knocked following some falls.

Global bike membership brand Swapfiets has announced the course, the first of its kind in the UK, after research found that, like Cook, the majority of Brits don’t feel comfortable cycling in city centres.

A national survey (2,000 people) conducted by the bike and e-bike membership service found that, whilst a third (30%) of adults want to cycle more, most (67%) face a dilemma as they don’t feel confident cycling in a town or city centre. 

Fears of being hit by a vehicle (68%), encountering drivers with road rage (54%), and not knowing where to go (27%) top the list of the nation’s anxieties when it comes to cycling in cities and towns, preventing Brits from getting on their bikes.

One of the first participants in the initiative is DJ Woody Cook who confessed to not feeling confident on his bike, in city centres. He said: “I cycle a lot at home but when I’ve attempted cycling in the city, I find it very daunting. The streets are incredibly busy, and the traffic is so heavy that I often find cycling in city centres a challenge and feel like I’m being thrown in at the deep end.

“I’ve had a couple of falls whilst cycling in the city which has been a huge knock for my confidence, and I’ve often tried to avoid cycling in London where possible. I’m sure taking part in this trial course with Swapfiets will give me the skills to cycle in the city with confidence and hopefully get me back on two wheels whenever I’m visiting.”

Swapfiets has announced the course to combat these confidence issues and to encourage more Brits to get on their bikes. The one-day course is Swapfiets’ own version of the national CBT course required by motorcyclists to become road legal drivers, with guests leaving with tips and training to confidently cycle in busy areas, with confidence.

The course, run by cycling safety professionals, consists of three class levels catering to all levels of cyclists whether beginners, intermediates, and advanced riders. Starting in a closed-off area it will take riders through the basics of being road safe – from emergency stopping and signalling – followed by putting these tips to the test on quiet streets, all before trialling them out on the busy streets of London.

Beginner Basics:

Taught in the safety of the courtyard, perfect for those either new to cycling or who haven’t cycled since childhood. This class prepares riders for a journey, as participants learn the basic skills for safe cycling - how to set off, pedal, slow down and stop (including looking behind, cycling one handed, turning and controlling speed).

Intermediate Intelligence:

This session will see participants venturing out on quiet local roads with instructors leading the way, and will help riders to cycle safely and responsibly, identify and respond to hazards, and manage risks. Participants will learn the basics of safe road cycling – how to start and stop on-road journeys and maintain suitable riding positions, how to share the road and communicate with other road users and how to negotiate junctions.

Advanced Assessment:

This final phase will focus primarily on the busy roads of London with riders following instructors in groups of five, learning how to plan and cycle assertively across different cycling scenarios. Advanced cycling skills learnt will include how to cooperate with and respect other road users, how to cycle on multi-lane roads, how to filter alongside and pass queuing traffic, and how to navigate roundabouts, junctions and traffic lights.

Richard Burger, Co-Founder and Director of Sustainability, at Swapfiets, said “We’ve seen a huge rise in cyclists in London over the past couple of years. However, with such a high percentage of people scared to get on two wheels in the city, our E-Cycling School felt like the perfect solution. Who knows how to better cycle in a city centre than us, the Dutch?

“Riding in any major city can often feel daunting due to busy roads, buses, and complex road layouts. By preparing our cyclists with the skills necessary to navigate the city, we hope to give people the power to own the city with confidence. 

[ Woody Cook is behind Truth Tribe, a collective combining Music, Awareness and Education ]

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