As a child I was very active, playing either football or rugby, cycling or digging big holes in the garden. One of my earliest memories is the day when I finally learnt to ride a bike. I was riding the bike of all 3 year olds dreams, a Rayleigh Streetwolf with built in sound box, Black with red trim. I was in my back garden and I can remember my Uncle Ian’s dulcet Romford tone “Ger un Ger un, I got ya” we must have completed 100 laps of the of the badminton court sized patio garden. Then, as I turned around the washing line in front of me, I could see him, which meant he wasn’t behind me, nor was he holding me up, which meant I was riding on my own! I was so excited I rode straight over the steps falling over the handlebars on to my face. I couldn’t believe I had learnt to ride and had my first crash “Brilliant”.
When I reflected on this memory I wondered why it was my Uncle and not parents or even grandparents that I remember helping me to learn to cycle? I quizzed my mum about this, she laughed out loud, bemused. She said “we spent hours at Bedford’s park running behind you, don’t you remember?” to be honest I didn’t but to save her feelings I said “Yeah, I do actually”. As a natural detective as most Mum’s are, she could tell I was lying and this awkward situation, sparked my imagination and has helped develop my new business idea.
As the Manager of an Olympic standard cycling venue I must have seen thousands of children learn to ride but it was only following the conversation with my own Mum did I start to look closer at the sessions we deliver and how the adults bringing the children interacted with the session. One particular session we deliver, works like magic, in just 30 minutes we have turned children completely in tears reluctantly pushing their bike with stabilisers to confidentially weaving in and out of cones at full speed totally unaided (stabilisers or human).
Now the rumours are that the instructors have a “Magic formula” and between them have years of experience, parents just don’t have and that’s why there is such a transformation. I now wonder if in fact the adults bringing the children have signed up to our sessions as a last resort, having spent hour upon hour at their local park running behind their treasured little one screaming and shouting instructions as they wear themselves out, totally stressed and deflated.
The pressure on parents to ensure their child has the best start in life are greater than ever, with friends and families watching as you document your progress on Instagram or Facebook. This, combined with parents working longer less sociable hours, means there is less quality time available and if someone else can tick one task off the list which may take you hours and hours, then I can see why paying someone else to teach your child to ride a bike is so attractive.
What if you could have your cake and eat it? What if I could give you the “Magic formula”, in just 3 hours and you could learn this in your own home in your own time?
As the Manager of the Olympic Mountain bike venue at Hadleigh Park I have seen hundreds if not thousands of Parents, Grandparents and Careers teach their children to ride a bike and I’ve noticed that there were very mixed experiences. So I have started on a journey to understand why there is such a vast difference and during the process I have developed a resource that will guide you through the key challenges of teaching your child to cycle.