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Thursday, 17 October 2013

Bike handling skills training is key to increasing participation in cycling

AustCycle has released the findings of its three-year study into adult participation in cycling, revealing just how vital cycle skills training is in getting more people on their bikes. 

Between June 2010 and June 2013, AustCycle ran over 1,200 adult training programs nationally, working with community groups, workplaces and running government-funded programs. Over 6,700 adult participants were involved in programs during this period. 

The training programs were supported by a comprehensive evaluation to measure the effect of cycle training on participation, surveying participants before and after they attended a course and then again at three and twelve-month intervals post-course, and feedback overwhelming showed an improvement in respondent’s skill level and confidence. 

Some 9 in 10 respondents highly rated their cycle training experience and 76% were still cycling twelve months post-course. 

Approximately 1 in 3 reported improvements in their feelings of wellbeing and fitness, and 1 in 5 said they had lost weight as a result of the training. 

Confidence levels in participants also significantly increased, with 74% self-reporting that they were confident or very-confident in their cycling skills after attending an AustCycle program, a rise of 30% on figures collected pre-course. 

University of Sydney’s Chris Rissel said the report shows just how powerful cycle education can be and stresses the importance of maintaining a national bicycle education framework going forward. 

“What we saw was that after people improved their skills and confidence through an AustCycle course, they rode more than they had before doing the course and after twelve months these people were still out there cycling”. 

“We really should be looking at providing this type of cycle education program systematically across Australia, offering it to a wide range of age groups, because the AustCycle program encourages more people to get out there and cycle and that is exactly what the next generation needs”. 

Gareth Watkins, General Manager of AustCycle, agrees with this, saying the report highlights the need for continued funding of cycle education. 

“The evaluation shows that cycle skills training plays an important role in determining how, when and where people feel safe to ride their bikes, and the three year period of the report shows just how successful the AustCycle program is at increasing rider confidence and getting non-riders to cycle”. 

“I believe that the report acts as a good guide and reference point for future funding decisions, highlighting the importance of skills training in encouraging more Australians to get on their bikes and ride”. 

To download the whole report, click here - Impact Evaluation Report.

About AustCycle 

AustCycle was established in 2008 and is a joint venture of Cycling Australia and the Amy Gillett Foundation. It was the result of over a decade of research, which identified a need for organised cycle education. AustCycle set out to establish a network of Teachers and Providers who can deliver cycle training to the community. 

AustCycle’s training programs are designed to introduce and progressively develop bike handling and traffic skills for people of all ages and ability levels, allowing anyone to confidently and safely participate in recreational cycling activities. 

About the report 

Through the evaluation period of June 2010 to June 2013, over 6,700 adults participated in an AustCycle program, with data collected from 4,145 people at registration, and 2,250 immediately following the program. 

Funding from the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing was provided to AustCycle during this time, allowing the organisation to implement cycle training under the Healthy Communities Initiative, which is a program that targets adults predominantly not in the paid workforce and at risk of developing chronic disease. 

Additional funding was also received from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, as well as local governments and workplaces, who supported training through a user pay model during this time. 

Media Enquiries 

Claire Brinkley | Communications Executive, Cycling Australia
(02) 9339 5831 | claire.brinkley@cycling.org.au 

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