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Employer cycle training

jmcc500jmcc500 Posts: 33
edited April 2012 in Commuting general
Hi everyone,

The company I work for have asked me to look into the possibility of organising some kind of training for our fairly extensive community of cycling commuters. Before diving in, I did a quick straw poll of the cyclists in my office, and found that not one of them would take up free training offered by the company.

Is this unusual? I think they expect a cycling proficiency type training, but I presume the national standards are a bit more in-depth than that? Should we as an employer be trying to persuade people to do this, or should it just be on offer if required?

I did point out that as a business we give advanced training for driving cars, and that of the injuries to staff in the last 12 months the two that stood out were people who had been knocked off their bikes whilst commuting, but still there is a reluctance.

Personally, I would jump at the opportunity, but then I generally consider any and all training to offer the possibility of me learning something! Perhaps people consider that they are good enough without it?

Any thoughts or advice on this would be appreciated,



  • TommyEssTommyEss Posts: 1,855
    I think most people who cycle regularly would perceive any training to be pretty condescending. Also, of the two knocked off, do you think that was because of their cycling skill or a driver's poor judgement. Without knowing the incidents, I'd hazard a guess at the latter.

    If you are looking at training for adults then speak to the CTC, but I doubt you'd get much uptake from seasoned cyclists. If it was offered in tandem with the Bike2Work scheme and an influx of new cyclists then you'd maybe see some demand.
    Cannondale Synapse 105, Giant Defy 3, Giant Omnium, Giant Trance X2, EMC R1.0, Ridgeback Platinum, On One Il Pompino...
  • jmcc500jmcc500 Posts: 33
    Fair enough. So are we saying that training has nothing to offer experienced riders? If so, that's useful to know.

    It's interesting because I am involved with car driver training to advanced levels, and there is always something to learn or improve on. ALWAYS. And one thing that does come across from that is that almost any 'accident' risk from other road users can be reduced through planning, observation and creating safe spaces around you. Teaching people to apply that thinking when riding may avoid getting into an accident that is someone else's fault. Or am I extrapolating too much?

    Thanks for feedback!
  • snigsnig Posts: 428
    I can't see why you are comparing advanced driving lessons with what I would think would be basic bicycle lessons, not sure if there is such a thing as advanced bIcycle riding! agree tho lessons would offer something but for adults I would think an hour would cover it.
  • TommyEssTommyEss Posts: 1,855
    I didn't say it had nothing to offer - I very carefully chose the word "perceived" because I think that is a bigger part of the problem.

    Also, as Snig says - there's likely to be a massive difference between advanced driving skills and advanced cycling skills, although the hazards perception is still a useful tool to cyclists.
    Cannondale Synapse 105, Giant Defy 3, Giant Omnium, Giant Trance X2, EMC R1.0, Ridgeback Platinum, On One Il Pompino...
  • jmcc500jmcc500 Posts: 33
    OK, thanks for the clarification, I am trying to play devil's advocate to some extent to see where the lie of the land is.

    So is there such a thing as 'advanced' cycle training? Something that experienced riders could go to and get something from?

    As has been stated, offering something to encourage new people to commute by bike may be seen more favourably than trying to tell someone who rides in 12 months of the year how to do it.
  • TommyEssTommyEss Posts: 1,855
    No worries - our club coach is a trainer for CTC, so I've a fair idea of what they offer. There's a course called bikeability, which is to all intents and purposes, cycling proficiency for adults. Riding straight while indicating, shoulder checks, positioning on the road etc. It is very useful for people not used to riding in traffic, but once you've got those skills down, what else is there?

    The advanced driving is more about creating space (which gives you greater reaction time) especially on motorways - cyclists can't really do much to create their own space, because we're not big enough to hold off traffic.
    Cannondale Synapse 105, Giant Defy 3, Giant Omnium, Giant Trance X2, EMC R1.0, Ridgeback Platinum, On One Il Pompino...
  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    I'd do it if it was offered for free... Nothing to lose and perhaps something to learn!
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  • snigsnig Posts: 428
    If my work offered cycle lessons, unless I got paid for going then no I would not go, maybe if new to cycling then an hour after work would be as much as I would want to give.
    As for is there an advance level, I would say no as far as commuting is concerned, getting from point A to point B safely is the object, what would an advance lesson offer over the basic? how to dodge a car door! and what would the basic lesson not include?

    New riders may find lessons will give them the confidence to make the move but even then, for adults I really can't see how you could fill more than an hour without turning this into a kids cycle proficiency course!
  • jmcc500jmcc500 Posts: 33
    Interesting, and a good point about the space creation. I had been thinking about other aspects as well, such as reading the subtle indicators that people give before making a move, or tips like ensuring you look someone in the eyes to know they have looked at you and seen you.

    I guess that in summary, I was wondering if the things that 'experienced' cyclists do differently to novices have been captured in a training course to speed up the learning process (whilst filtering out the bad habits that we all pick up!).
  • TommyEssTommyEss Posts: 1,855
    Yeah, but all that really needs to be in the beginner class, so they make it through their first week commuting alive...
    Cannondale Synapse 105, Giant Defy 3, Giant Omnium, Giant Trance X2, EMC R1.0, Ridgeback Platinum, On One Il Pompino...
  • yeh, but so many 'seasoned riders' have bad habits and or don't cycle to the high way code, could be a good idea it would be a bit condesending to be told how to wait at lights etc though :lol:
    worst moment ever...
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  • TommyEssTommyEss Posts: 1,855
    Indeed - I think most of us, on bike or behind wheel, could probably benenfit from a refresher course once in a while. Never gonna happen, mind...
    Cannondale Synapse 105, Giant Defy 3, Giant Omnium, Giant Trance X2, EMC R1.0, Ridgeback Platinum, On One Il Pompino...
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 13,317
    If it was time out of the office, during work hours, then I would have thought some people would go for it, maybe not if they're expected to go after work/at the weekend. Also, do people cycle for work or just to/from work?

    If it's training based on Cyclecraft then it would be analogous to the type of driving written about in Roadcraft (the police/advanced drivers handbook). But maybe they think it'll be like the old school cycling proficiency (patronising to anyone who can ride a bike in a straight line), rather than the assertive, 'vehicular', primary position cycling style of riding (most cyclists I see when I'm riding or driving would learn a lot from this, and I suspect have no idea Cyclecraft even exists).

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • madtammadtam Posts: 141
    If it was offered I would probably consider it but more for idle interest rather than because I would expect to learn much. Like others have pointed out it would be too easy for this to be a simple cycling proficiency type course with little to add to anybody who has been commuting for a while. I would probably put myself in the rather arrogant camp that thinks they know it all as a long time cyclist.
    I suspect most of us have "bad habits" that we use regularly that are not a great idea from a safety point of view. As an example, filtering in stationary/slow moving traffic can be hazardous as other road users just don't look out for you. Just this morning I was driving due to carrying some extra items and giving my daughter a lift. At a traffic light controlled junction we stopped and my daughter said she would hop out there rather than pulling in a couple of hundred yards further on. Fortunately as a cyclist I automatically glanced in the mirror to check for cyclist filtering as as it happened someone was just approaching so I was able to stop by daughter from opening the door in front of him. A number of other drivers might have missed this and it's very difficult for the cyclist to do much to avoid this despite any training that might be offered.
    I have often thought that an additional couple of parts should be included in the vehicle driving test. These should be an hour or so on a bike in traffic, and an hour or two on a motorbike as well. Drivers might just get a different perspective on the road and be that bit more careful themselves.
  • You could see if your organisation would incentivise people to not only look to attain each level but also to maintain their participation in cycle commuting, for example by increasing the cycling mileage allowance rate the higher they achieve (assuming your organisation pays mileage allowance for cycling). A reward that just satisfies someone for completing the training may not necessarily encourage new or sustained cycle commuting but will encourage those who see it as quick win.

    The National Standards for Cycle Training are outcomes based and progression of candidates is at the discretion of the instructor, so whilst you may get those who think they know it all if they can't routinely and safely apply the practical skills then they don't pass. Attaining level 3 of the standards wouldn't be that difficult for most practiced cyclists and it's unavoidable that there's no guarantee anyone would maintain their practice once passing.
  • Daz555Daz555 Posts: 4,040
    If my employer offered free cycle training I doubt I'd bother either.
    You only need two tools: WD40 and Duck Tape.
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  • Include something that'll save them money - instruction in the basics of gear indexing / headset adjustment / changing brake pads. Expand upon that with a health angle - proper saddle height adjustment and its relation to not destroying your knees, simple stuff but perhaps not immediately obvious.

    Once they see the value of that then launch into your road safety instruction and it wont seem quite so much like teaching people to suck eggs (unless you are, in which case youre doomed anyway).
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