Bike bothy teams up with Ardfern cyclists

Craignish Primary School pupils take part in Bikeability Scotland training.

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Parents and helpers in Ardfern teamed up with Ardrishaig Bike Bothy to ensure youngsters didn’t miss out on vital bike training.

Primary seven youngsters going into first year are offered Cycling Scotland’s Bikeability training but when schools shut early in March as a result of lockdown, the programme was cancelled.

Iain Catterwell, cycle trainer at Craignish Primary School, said: ‘We felt it was important pupils still got to learn the skills and gain the confidence to be safe, assertive cyclists on the road. So many people are intimidated by other vehicles. The Bikeability scheme gives children and adults the confidence to ride out safely.’

The training, over three days, and was a mixture of games, exercises and on road practice, finishing with an assessment. The village’s fire engine was used to demonstrate to the youngsters how difficult they are to see from the cab of a large goods vehicle, particularly to the rear and near side at junctions.

They also learned about primary and secondary road positions, right of way and good observational skills.

They were even encouraged to ask their parents if they do the ‘Dutch Reach’ to keep passing cyclists safe. The Dutch Reach is a simple change of habit to help you open your car door safely. Instead of using the hand closest to the door, it means reaching across to open the door with the hand furthest from the door – your left hand if you are the driver. This naturally turns your body towards the window, helping you spot approaching cyclists.

Mr Catterwell added: ‘Thanks to Scottish Fire and Rescue Service for the use of the appliance and the drill yard, the Bike Bothy for administrative assistance and training materials and Graham Love for his excellent mechanical services. Also to residents and holiday makers around Craignish who were mostly respectful of the learner cyclists.’

P7/S1 pupils Fergus Bennett, Beth Gregory, Magnus Hampton, Kay Neville, Harry Whittle and Reiley Van Der Zel received their Bikeability 2 badges. P6/7 pupils Ross Potter-Irwin and Henry Small should get their Bikeability badges in term time next year.

Through partnership with the Ardrishaig Bothy, Cycling Scotland is offering schools free instructor support, instructor training and resources to deliver Bikeability Scotland training.

Bikeability Scotland is the national cycle training programme designed to give children the skills and confidence they need to cycle safely on the roads and to encourage them to carry on cycling into adulthood. For further information contact aisa.nebreda@cyclinguk.org or visit www.bikeability.scot

The Ardrishaig Bothy, in Pier Square, is run by Cycling UK in partnership with Scottish Canals to encourage people to walk or cycle, especially on local journeys. For more information email alec.ohnstad@cyclinguk.org or visit the Ardrishaig Bothy Facebook page.