Free cycling courses for the over 50s have proved so popular in Swindon organisers have had to add more sessions to cope with demand.
The sessions, which are run by CTC Cycle Champions and Swindon Borough Council, are currently booked months in advance and have seen many people continuing to cycle in their groups long after their courses have finished.
The courses are designed to be a gentle introduction to cycling and are aimed at those people who have never ridden a bike before or those who haven’t ridden for many years. The emphasis is on fun and enjoyment and the atmosphere is relaxed with the pace of the course tailored to suit the individual’s needs.
Each course runs over an eight-week period with sessions every Saturday morning (10am – 12pm) starting on the County Ground Athletics Track and gently progresses to roads and streets. There is no pressure on participants to venture out but most end up doing so. Some course graduates have even gone on to receive ride leader training so they can continue their group rides with other participants.
"I really enjoyed my time on the cycling course considering I was one of those that was unable to cycle at the start", said Suz Daykin, a participant on a recent course. "On our last day we cycled all the way to Nightingale Woods which to me was amazing, nearly 13 miles! The tutors were great, really encouraging and good fun and the best bit for me was last Saturday I went on a bike ride with my children. I’m even joining in the social bike rides soon."
Anna Cipullo, CTC Cycle Champion for Swindon and course organiser, said: "The courses have been so well received, it’s incredible, and cycling for older people has really taken off in the area.
"It’s great to see so many new faces as well as past course members become ride leaders encouraging others to try something new. Ride leader training is open to all so please get in touch if you are interested in furthering your riding and leadership skills in a relaxed environment."
Cllr Fionuala Foley, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure and Corporate Services, said: "It is fantastic that so many people have decided to get on their bikes and take advantage of the free cycling courses.
"The group bike rides are a fun way to meet new people while exercising at the same time."
The over 50s cycling courses are free and run every Saturday between 10am and12pm at the County Ground Athletics Track. There are still places available on the courses starting on 16 October and 15 January 2011.
Anyone who would like to find out more information about the over 50s cycling courses or the ride leader training sessions can contact CTC’s Cycle Champions Officer Anna Cipullo on 01793 511033 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org