Teaching my daughter to ride a bike

Testimonial | February 2020

Katie Ball, 16, has a disorder which affected her ability to ride a bike, with the support of TTC Cycling she is now successfully cycling.

Her father Mike explains his daughter’s cycling journey and the support of our cycling team which was paid for from Slough Borough Council's Bikeability grant.

Mike’s story in his own words:

Dyspraxia is a common disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. An individual’s coordination difficulties may affect participation and functioning of everyday life skills in education, work and employment. Children may present with difficulties with self-care, writing, typing, riding a bike and play as well as other educational and recreational activities. In adulthood many of these difficulties will continue, as well as learning new skills at home, in education and work, such as driving a car and DIY.

My daughter, Katie was lucky to be diagnosed at a young age and although physiotherapy helped a lot, many of those common challenges still persisted. Riding a bike became a huge issue and try as we both did the normal way of a dad teaching his daughter to ride never worked, she gave up with extreme frustration every time we tried and resigned herself to be not being able to ride. We tried again about a year ago and now she is 16 and a young woman things became even harder for me to try and help her as she was too big to support physically as she tried. Again we gave up.

Luckily at this point we came across TTC Cycling through our local council. We signed up and although there were a lot of 'discussions' that she didn’t want to do it as the day arrived we managed to get her there. The first thing was she realised she wasn’t alone – in fact she was the youngest person there – and immediately started to laugh and discuss things with the other attendees. The instructor arrived, immediately focused on putting them all at ease and sorted them out with bikes to use. He correctly sized the bikes they gave them (my first mistake), then proceeded to remove all the pedals. They then spent the next hour or so coasting round without pedals learning to handle the bike. Some moved onto the next stage but Katie and others carried on at their own speed, with no pressure to progress unnaturally. The spirit among them all was great and the instructor really maximised on that, as well as adding his own encouragement. She left that first session really upbeat and clearly believing in herself that she COULD ride even if she didn’t.

For the next session, pedals stayed on. Within an hour my daughter, who was never going to ride was off pedaling on her own, without support and as this video shows riding unaided. Sure she needs to practice more and a couple more sessions but TTC Cycling achieved something we all thought was impossible. I never thought I would see the day and the fact is truly amazing to me. It has had massive impacts on her self-confidence and no longer is “I can’t do it” the first answer.

I can never truly thank TTC Cycling enough for what they have done in such a short space of time and if I could only tell every single person in our situation how important this is and what a great team they are I would.

About the Bikeability scheme
Bikeability is a cycle training programme which develops practical skills and understanding to keep children safe when cycling on the road. There are 3 levels, all aimed to improve confidence and cycling skills.

Bikeability is a Department for Transport designed scheme, delivered by nationally qualified instructors in risk assessed environment.

For more information see the Bikeability Delivery Guide.

Cycling for all ages
We believe everyone should have the opportunity to learn to ride and provide solutions to those children and adults who require more support and guidance than others. We deliver cycling training in schools and adult cycling courses throughout the year.

Our team of professional instructors help to develop better, safer cycling habits by training people on theory and practical exercises that ensure they have good balance and an understanding of independent travel on our streets and roads.

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