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Source: Auckland Council

A city that cycles is a healthier, cleaner and more efficient place to live. So how do we get more Aucklanders on two wheels?

Investing in new cycling infrastructure and improving what’s already there is a big part of it. And so, too, is building skills and confidence in riders.

Tom Sadler looks at how you can do just that this summer – for free.

Paving The Way

A recent Auckland Transport (AT) study found that 50 per cent of respondents would consider cycling as a daily mode of transport if cycling infrastructure was improved in the region.

With the establishment of an interconnected network of cycleways across the city already well underway (over 27km of cycle paths have been laid since 2014) and encouraging people to hop onto two wheels, the first step has been taken. And the completion of connective routes such as the Ian McKinnon Drive, Waterview and the Te Ara i Whiti / Lightpath cycleways has resulted in increased rider counts across the whole cycle system. But expanding the cycling infrastructure is only one part of the process.

Ensuring that anyone wanting to take up cycling has the understanding and skillset necessary to ride safely is essential.

Adult Cycle-Skill Sessions

To that end, AT is offering free cycling instruction courses this summer that cater to any community or workplace groups that want to get riding – whether the participants are new to cycling or looking to brush up on old skills and get back in the saddle.

Sessions require a group booking and can be arranged and tailored to suit the group.

To get more information on adult bike skills courses visit AT.govt.nz/cyclingevents

The courses that are on offer are as follows:

Bronze Bike Skills Course (10-person minimum)

Two hours in an offroad environment. A relaxed, practical session that provides plenty of opportunities to learn bike handling and brake and gear-control skills.

Silver Bike Skills Course (six-person minimum)

A three-hour session, beginning in an off-road environment before moving onto shared paths and quiet local roads. This course teaches participants on-road handling skills, tips on how to choose safe routes, and how to communicate with other road and path users.

Gold Bike Skills Course (six-person minimum)

A three-hour course, beginning in an off-road setting and progressing onto busier roads. The course offers pointers on how to confidently and safely ride on the road in heavier traffic conditions.

Bike Maintenance Course (10-person minimum)

Two hours in an off-road or indoor locale. This interactive workshop teaches you how to ensure your bike is in safe working order. Participants will learn how to do a basic inspection, how to clean and make minor adjustments to cycling gear, and how to change a flat tyre on their bikes.

Kids Learn-To-Ride Sessions

Learning to ride a two-wheeler is one of those big childhood milestones, and it’s pretty exciting for the parents, too. If you are wondering how to get started, or experiencing a few bumps along the way, then check out the free Learn2Ride sessions.

Auckland Transport’s qualified cycling instructors will be regularly holding relaxed, fun sessions to help children aged 2-8 years learn to ride. Whether learning on a balance bike or transitioning to a pedal cycle, kids will be able to improve their handling and confidence within a supervised environment. Instructors work alongside parents and provide them with basic steps to help foster their children’s cycling skillsets.

These sessions are run on a free, drop-in basis and are weather dependent. For information on sessions and on other events, cycleways, rides to explore, safety tips and advice on bikes and gear, visit AT.govt.nz/cycling

MIL OSI