The Forestry Commission has joined forces with one of the UK’s leading learn-to-cycle programmes to celebrate its 100th birthday by encouraging more families to explore the country’s forests by bike.
Balanceability, which is run by TTC Group, will be hosting eight one-hour taster sessions at Salcey Forest in Northamptonshire on Monday, May 27 and Thursday, May 30, to show young children and parents the importance of balance bikes in developing core strengths, motor skills and in getting them active.
The fun and interactive sessions will cost £9 and take place at 10am, 11am, 1pm and 2pm for a maximum of 10 children (aged between two-and-a-half and seven years-old) per group, with a qualified Balanceability instructor and specialist bikes and safety equipment available for all participants.
Bookings can be made in advance on the Forestry Commission website or families can turn up on the day to take part.
“Salcey Forest has been keen to offer cycling for younger children for some time, as it already boasts an easy family cycling trail that is ideal for exploring nature,” explained Brittany Eagle, Sales Manager at Balanceability,
“Balance bikes are a great way to help kids who can’t cycle yet and our instructors are trained to make the sessions as fun as possible, with easy to follow techniques and a chance to put what they learn into action.”
She added: “Learning to cycle is a proven way of getting young people more active and helping them develop skills they can use throughout their lives. Our forests are safe and great places to discover and we’re hoping that this major birthday will be the start of more children riding bikes as a way of getting around all the different trails.
“If this trial is successful, we’d like to think we could offer more courses later in the year and are keen to work with other forests who want to get more of their visitors cycling.”
Balanceability has been specially designed with child development experts and cycling professionals so that all children have the opportunity to learn to ride a bike.
It is the only formally approved learn-to-cycle programme for very young children by the Association for Physical Education (afPE) and, since its launch in 2008, has helped more than 500,000 children learn to ride a bike.
Simon Fowler, Forest Centre Manager at Forestry England, is looking forward to the start of the sessions: “We are very excited to be working with Balanceability at Salcey Forest. Cycling is a big area of interest for us, as we know only too well the boost it can provide for people looking to lead a healthy, happy lifestyle.
“The sessions are unique as they give children the opportunity to develop the essential skills needed to learn to ride and support the next generation of cyclists that will enjoy the nation’s forests.”
TTC Group acquired Balanceability in 2014 as part of ambitions to expand its training into new specialist areas and underlining its commitment to improving road safety amongst younger, vulnerable road users.
In the five years that have followed, the company has steadily grown its coverage across the UK, winning contracts to supply balance bikes, resources and equipment to the general public, local authorities, schools and other public sector bodies.
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