How schools could play key role in improving diversity in cycling

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ByEurosport UK
30/06/2020 at 11:00 | Updated 30/06/2020 at 11:22

Cycling UK director of behaviour change and development, James Scott believes that static bikes could be used as a tool to get the sport into schools.

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Only three per cent of five to 16-year-olds cycle to school, with that number heavily weighted towards boys from secondary school.


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Adult men make three times as many cycle trips as women, while there is also a racial disparity. According to the Diversity in Cycling report published by Andy Edwards and Mani Arthur last year, more than two fifths of white people surveyed had cycled compared to a third of black people and those from the South Asian community.

In a bid to make the sport more diverse, Cycling UK has been working hard to get the sport on the PE curriculum in schools. In that regard, cycling competes with sports that often don't come with the same financial overheads, or need for storage space, repairs or facilities.

“There are some schools out there which have done great work getting pupils to cycle,” Scott explained to Cycling Weekly.

“However, they are usually reliant upon one or two keen and committed teachers. Despite cycling being no more dangerous than walking when it comes to being killed or seriously injured on our roads – walking is a far more popular means of getting to school, breaking down these barriers are necessary if we want more cycling at a school level.”

Scott added: “Static bikes can be a potential pathway to a more competitive cycling life, as it’s relatively easy to do. However, it’s never going to be a substitute for the real thing.

“It can be an add on, but it’s safer roads so children aren’t stuck in class rooms which will make competition possible. That means a change in behaviour for some drivers and also proper infrastructure.”

Amateur cyclist and member of the Black Cyclists Network Nate Roberts agrees, telling Cycling Weekly that increased facilities in schools and youth clubs would particularly help young people of colour get into the sport.

“Society shows us that we can run, play football, et cetera but when it comes to cycling, society hasn’t shown us that we can do cycling," Roberts said.

Introducing it into the community through youth clubs or state schools in different areas of London would aid people of colour getting into cycling.

Yewande Adesida, a West London-based track rider and PhD student, is well aware of the impact that increasing access to static bikes for school children can have.

Adesida began cycling on a Wattbike as part of her training as a rower, having been exposed to that sport via an indoor rowing machine during school.

“Kids love competition,” Adesida said. “There is technique involved to rowing but a lot of that is removed and there are less safety elements to consider when you’re doing indoor rowing.

“There are so many different stationary bikes. You could set up 10 bikes and tell kids they’re in competition and they would love it, and then just start from there.

“I think it’s just a much easier way to reach people because you’re taking away the fear that some people might have of being out on the road or falling off the bike and just give them a chance to have fun.”


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