Pedal power for UK kids comes at a price
LONDON: Once, learning to ride a bike would cost a family no more than a few grazed knees and some frayed nerves.
These days, however, instead of teaching their children this basic skill themselves, parents are sending them to professional instructors – for double the cost of driving lessons.
One in three parents have paid for bike lessons for their children, according to a survey, spending an average of £143.63 (R2 500) a child.
However, some parents admitted to spending as much as £3 500 on the lessons.
Cycling tuition can cost up to £40 an hour, irrespective of whether the learner is an adult or child. Other classes charge £25 to be part of a group session. Parents may also have to pay extra for bike and helmet hire.
Meanwhile, driving instructors typically charge between £20 and £25 for an hour-long session, which includes fuel costs.The AA, which charges £25 for driving lessons, accused private cycling tutors of “charging through the nose”.
Spokesperson Luke Bosdet said: “Of course, somebody is giving their time to provide these sessions but… to be asked for £25 to be part of a group session means someone is absolutely minting it.
“These very high costs also freeze out the less welloff youngsters. Why should they lose out because someone wants to charge through the nose for a bike lesson?”
Chris Bennett, of cycle campaign group Sustrans, added: “We would always advise parents to check what cycle training their local council or child’s school is offering.”
Of the 1 016 parents surveyed by discount website MyVoucherCodes, a third said they had paid for someone to teach their child to ride a bike.
When asked why, 33% admitted they did not have the patience to teach their child.
Meanwhile, 20% said they feel they do not know how to instruct their child effectively, and 18% said they did not have the time.
Another 12% said they cannot ride a bike themselves. Among the firms charging £40 an hour for “beginner” sessions is Micycle in Islington, North London. It charges an extra £5 for bike hire. Popcycle, also in North London, charges £30 an hour and advises learners to take up to five classes. Rental is £5, helmet rental £2.
The National Cycling Academy in Manchester charges £25 an hour for a group class, with Purrfect Pedalling in Solihull, West Midlands, charging £26.
Matthew Hilton of Micycle defended his firm’s charges, saying lessons are one-to-one and arranged at times to suit the customer.
“Normally, kids only need one, one hour lesson before they are up and away,” he said. – Daily Mail
Cycling tuition can cost up to £40 an hour
HELPING HAND: With the Wallaby kids’ bicycle trainer children can learn to ride without training wheels in less than an hour.