Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

On your bike                                        October 2009 



cyclingEnvironmental care is so important today, so it is no wonder that cycling is once again becoming a key form of transport.

But the popularity of cycling has never really disappeared – it is tremendous fun cycling along small lanes and tracks and of course it is a very healthy and enjoyable way to exercise.

The good news is that cycling is especially good for people as they get older. Cycling is a low impact activity and one of the safest ways to exercise without risk of over-exertion or strain to muscles and joints. Regularly cycling can help you lose weight, reduce body fat, reduce stress and strengthen your heart muscles. It really is all good news.

If you have been out of cycling for a long time, the easiest way to get going is simply to go and buy a bike and cycle. However, roads are busier and things have changed a great deal since most of us were youngsters, so it might be worth considering undertaking some training sessions through the CTC. The CTC was founded in 1878 as the Bicycle Touring Club and then renamed the Cyclists’ Touring Club. Today is in the UK’s national organization for cyclists, a not-for-profit organization that has over 60,000 members.

The CTC runs training sessions for all ages and all skill levels, for people who have never ridden a bike to regular cyclists who want to develop their skills further.

It is a long way from the local authority cycle training that I experienced at school. Today there is a new National Standard for Cycle Training which incorporates high quality training from fully qualified and accredited instructors. They will develop your skills so that you can safely manage all road and traffic conditions and costs around £15 a session.

What is the National Standard?

The National Standard for Cycle Training is a three tier training scheme to teach you how to cycle safety and confidently on the road with respect for other road users. The three different levels are as follows:

  • Level 1 - conducted in a controlled environment away from roads and traffic. Cyclists are usually trained in groups of 3-12 riders, although individual training may be available. Provides the basic cycle control skills including, starting and pedalling, stopping, manoeuvring, signalling and using the gears.
  • Level 2 - On-road training for those who have completed Level 1 and are ready to progress; it gives real cycling experience and makes trainees feel safer and capable of dealing with traffic on short commuting journeys or when cycling to school. Training is mainly in small groups over a number of sessions.
  • Level 3 - develops the basic skills and trains riders to make journeys in a variety of traffic conditions competently, confidently and consistently. Cyclists reaching the Level 3 standard will be able to deal with all types of road conditions and more complex situations. The course covers dealing with hazards, making ‘on-the-move’ risk assessments and planning routes for safer cycling.

There are extra curricula syllabus elements to the National Standard to enhance riders’ training depending on their personal needs. These topics are:

  • Cycling at night
  • Cycle security
  • Luggage and load carrying
  • Using your bike with public transport
  • Cycle organisations and forums

There is also cycle maintenance and even off-road training available.

Once you feel competent on the roads, it is important to keep cycling to build up your confidence and experience. Again the CTC organise a wide range of events, activities and even awards, plus of course there are cycling groups and holidays you can join. There may well be some local cycling groups in your area that you can join and if not, why not start one? Cycling is a fast growing activity and you may find a new social life as well as a slimmer, fitter body!

For more information about training courses and the CTC, visit the following website and also click on their links button to find lots more information about this excellent activity.


Nutricentre Discount for laterlife visitors If in any doubt about any of the information covered in health and nutrition related articles and it's relevance for you, consult your GP.




Advertise on