2 November 2015

Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries: The Importance of Teaching Children to Cycle

When it comes to all the milestones we go through when growing up, learning to ride a bike is up there with learning to play a musical instrument and learning how to swim. They are life lessons. Cycling teaches discipline, perseverance, balance, all things that children need to develop whilst growing up. 

Being from a large family, I learnt how to ride at quite a young age as my siblings showed me how, as well as being taught by my parents too and so, when it came to the time that we had to teach Thomas, I knew that it would take dedication and a lot of practise to get rid of those pesky stabilisers. 

For Thomas, he has now been riding his bike for just over a year and recently upgraded to a bigger 16" bike which is much better for his size. We took our time with teaching him the different stages, not wanting to push him too hard but trying every day so that he would get used to it.

First of all, learning to balance comes first. Starting with holding the back of the bike whilst Thomas peddled, slowly loosening my grip so that he was given more of the reign of how the bike balanced. Eventually leading up to letting go of the back whilst he was peddling and lastly, the balance you need to actually starting off the bike on your own. 

Once you've hit all the stages, that's it, your child will be off, there will be no stopping them. I love cycling and so does my husband so I guess it was kind of inevitable that the boys would learn to cycle with us. 

That's not always the case though. Not everyone has a bike, which is a shame, and so that's where the Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries comes in. 

The Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries project is part of the legacy of le Tour de France’s visit to the county, and has been helping to create a cycling legacy for all generations and all abilities. 

There are Donation Stations located all around the county, and more Libraries will be opening across Yorkshire over the coming months. At these Donation Stations, people are encouraged to amnesty their old bikes at the designated donation stations in the county, including York, Bradford and Sheffield.

All donated bikes are being repaired and reconditioned for use at a Bike Library, to ensure all children across Yorkshire have access to a bicycle.These will make up the Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries and be available to individuals, local enterprises and community groups to borrow for free, so more people, young and old, can enjoy the benefits of cycling.

Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries is a 3 year joint project, which started at the end of 2014, with Welcome to Yorkshire’s cycling initiative, Cycle Yorkshire and the aim is to make cycling more accessible in Yorkshire by providing communities with bike libraries.

Where you can find Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries:
  • Streetbikes CIC, Huddersfield
  • BeCycling, Bradford
  • Bradford Trident
  • Yorkshire Children’s Centre, Huddersfield
  • Get Cycling, York
  • Club Doncaster, Doncaster
  • ReVolution
  • Fearnville Centre, Leeds
Each Bike Library is unique and all have different activities going on. From cycling activities, guided cycle rides, safety lessons, and Get Cycling in York has a growing fleet of specially adapted bicycles designed to make cycling a real possibility for everyone. They currently run a series of events at special need schools across Yorkshire.

I love this. I love how, even if your child has a bike, you can pop along and loan one from the Bike Library for yourself so that you can cycle together. Or for parents who can not afford to buy a new bike, they can teach their child to ride and help them gain confidence in doing so. 

It's great to see that there is somewhere to champion how great cycling is and hopefully, the love that we had for le Tour de Yorkshire will be around for a long time yet!


  1. A fantastic idea! When I was little I learnt to ride on a second hand tricycle and I loved it very much before I upgraded to a BMX! Riding a bike is a skill every child should have the chance to learn xx

  2. You are right, it is so important to teach riding a bike to kids

  3. Great idea. My son will be getting his first bike for Christmas.