Adult cycle training in West Yorkshire bounces back with over 2500 sessions delivered in 2021

More adults are learning to ride for the first time in West Yorkshire than at any time since 2019, as free cycle training is supporting people to get back on their bike as our region recovers from the pandemic.

Over 2500 sessions, funded by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, have been delivered by partner organisations to over 1000 people across the five districts of West Yorkshire since April 2021. 

The most popular sessions were designed for people who have never ridden a bike before, or not ridden in many years, with three quarters of participants receiving training to learn to ride for the first time or get back on their bike. This shows that the ability and confidence to ride is a significant barrier to cycling, which adult cycle training is helping to address. 

The vast majority, almost 90%, of participants were women. Survey data tells us that most regular cyclists in the UK are men, so this shows the value of the Combined Authority funding adult cycle training to reduce gender inequality in access to active travel. 

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: 

“It’s wonderful to see that adult cycle training is back in full force. I firmly believe that cycling is for everyone, but not all of us got to learn to ride as children. If you’ve ever thought of cycling but don’t feel confident riding, I strongly urge you to give it a go, and thanks to the Combined Authority, it’s free. 

“As well, it’s great to see so many women taking that first step into the saddle – the freedom and independence of a bike can be so empowering. The more people from all backgrounds can overcome barriers to take up cycling, the closer we’ll be to active travel being the natural choice for short journeys in West Yorkshire.” 

Graham Creaton, General Manager of Cycle North, said: 

“The numbers speak for themselves here. There is a great demand for cycle training across the region and we are making a difference to a lot of people’s lives. I’m really proud of the hard work our partners have put in.” 

“The system of the Combined Authority working with partners like Cycle North has proven to be effective – it’s community organisations who have the contacts to deliver effective training where it’s most needed.” 

The best engagement with adult cycle training sessions, relative to population size, was in Leeds, Bradford and Kirklees districts. These areas were able to put on more sessions due to partner organisations, capable of delivering training, being based in these areas. 

Significant success to inspire residents to continue their cycle training was seen in Kirklees, with the highest proportion of participants going on to ‘Level 2 (Improver/on-road training)’ sessions. More people taking part in these sessions is an important goal for the Combined Authority, as Level 2 is focused on helping people complete short road journeys by bike, empowering them to choose active travel for more of their day-to-day journeys. 

West Yorkshire Combined Authority funded the following partner organisations to deliver free adult cycle training: 

  • Cycle North 
  • Cycle Therapy Kirklees 
  • Calderdale Council 
  • Bike Mill 
  • Bradford Capital of Cycling 
  • Be Cycling 
  • Mary Magdalene CIC 
  • Streetbikes 

If you are a provider organisation or a person interested in becoming an adult cycle training instructor, we would love to support you. Please contact cityconnect@westyorks-ca.gov.uk for more information. 

To learn more about free adult cycle training and how you can take part, visit Adult Cycle Training on the CityConnect website.