Pedal power for UK kids comes at a price

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

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.

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