Bikeability – “cycling proficiency’ for the 21st Century” – is the officially-sanctioned training programme for children who can cycle. A programme has now been developed to help kids who have yet to learn to ride. This programme is called Balanceability and is a ‘learn to cycle’ scheme for children aged 2½ to 6 years old. It is not as yet officially part of Bikeability but may be incorporated in due course.
Balanceability is a structured 12-week self-taught course available to schools, leisure centres and independent trainers. It is currently active on twenty sites across the UK and uses balance bikes i.e. bikes without pedals. Balance bikes can help children to learn the basics of cycling extremely quickly. Many children learn to balance within hours of riding a balance bike. See this article on the scoot-weeeee-balance method in action.
Balanceability is being supported by father and Olympic champion cyclist Chris Boardman. He said: “Balanceability is the fundamental starting point for children’s cycling and an excellent opportunity to promote active lifestyles at the earliest possible age. I encourage all schools to give children the opportunity to use balance bikes.”
Patricia Maude, lecturer in physical education at Homerton College, University of Cambridge (author of Physical Children, Active Teaching) also supports the programme. She said: “Balanceability is a foundation for cyclists of the future, through which young children can practise and achieve the balance needed to ride bicycles.”