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National Cycle Training Standard

"A training and education process that enables clients to make the cycling trips of their choice, more often, more safely"

The National Cycle Training Standard was launched for adults and teenagers in 2003 and for children in 2007. It is now promoted as Bikeability and it represents the highest standard for cycle training in the United Kingdom.

The Standard is a quality-assured framework for cycle training, where the emphasis is on teaching people to cycle confidently on the roads and to understand the interaction between cyclists and other road users so that as cyclists they can ride in the most appropriate way to enhance their safety and progress in the prevailing circumstances. It is not a set of rigid rules to be followed by cyclists in idealistic circumstances.

To be accredited as a NCTS instructor, an approved course must be undertaken to ensure familiarisation with the syllabus to be taught and knowledge of best teaching techniques, risk assessment, child protection and other practical details.

The syllabus for the National Cycle Training Standard is based on the book Cyclecraft, which is required reading for all instructors and recommended reading for trainees.

Training levels

Although training is always geared to the specific needs of the individual client, there are four defined levels of competence around which training is structured. Clients are encouraged to process to higher levels according to their achievement and needs.

Level 1a
The most basic level of training for people who cannot ride a bicycle at all, covering starting and stopping, balance and steering .

Level 1b
Basic skills including braking, looking behind, signalling, the use of gears and cycle control.

Level 2
For people with basic skills but who lack confidence cycling on road this includes cycling theory, overtaking, positioning, passing side roads, left/right turns, roundabouts, traffic lights and cycle facilities.

Level 3
The highest level of cycle training, usually undertaken by people who are already regular cyclists but who wish to extend their skills to ride on roads of any kind. Includes traffic observation, busier roundabouts, filtering, multi-lane roads.

Levels 1a and 1b are taught off-road where possible, or on very quiet roads. Level 2 is taught on roads with low to moderate flows of traffic. Level 3 may be taught on any type of road according to the needs of the client and local circumstances.

Background information

Why take a training course?  | What's involved?  |  Training options  |  Contact me