Teenagers become trainers
There is no need for us to persuade most young people of the benefits of cycling. They are not interested in hearing the eco advantages - both pocket and emission - nor the difference it can make for congestion, long term health or the social impact. What bikes mean to children and young people is fun and freedom!
Bike Club Scotland has developed an introductory leadership package to give young people an insight to learning to be a role model and cycle promoter, a greater understanding of cycling, confidence to do their own basic mechanics, and an opportunity to deliver cycling activities to their peers.
At the heart of the training is providing young people with an informal and fun platform (and sometimes a table top!) to develop. To allow them time to explore their own strengths, to work as a leader and, of course, to do all this on two wheels! Over the last few months Bike Club Scotland has trained 117 new young leaders in and around the Lothians, Fife and Falkirk area.
The course is delivered in one full day or two half days. During sessions, many young people go through a transition from being a participant to taking the lead.
The course is delivered in one full day or two half days. During sessions, many young people go through a transition from being a participant to taking the lead. It is a privilege to be there to see the light bulb moments. One such example was a young lad who is a highly competent cyclist, and a highly vocal member of the group, ready to show his amazing wheelies and half-an-hour trackstands. But faced with a group who are just happy to ride bikes it was interesting to see how he would cope.
Tasked with delivering a session on ‘Bunny Hops’ he set about assuming that everyone knew the terminology, what a bunny hop should look like, and that they were able to do front wheel lifts already. If none of these words make any sense to you, you’re in the same field as his group. For him, it was important to explain what he meant, work through the process and experience the difficulties of communicating his ideas.
After 5 minutes of mild frustration at his group, who had by this point distanced themselves from the task, the light bulb went on! He approached the leaders, saying, “It’s really hard to teach people...I think I just wanted to show off my skills but it’s hard to explain them to other people.” This moment is the essence of the project: to take young people on a journey of self-discovery.
Bike Club Scotland is working with a variety of groups, schools and clubs to help develop cycling as an activity they offer. This course is part of a number of services offered to allow groups to maximise volunteering and leadership roles for young people and adult workers