Students pick up cycling skills in school tie-up

The six-hour Learn-to-Cycle course focused on how to ride a bike around a circuit. Participants were given a safety briefing and taught how to properly put on equipment, such as helmets and knee pads. St Anthony's Canossian Secondary students taking
St Anthony's Canossian Secondary students taking part in SCF's Cycle Safe Programme, which has been endorsed as a Sports Education Programme by Sport Singapore and the Ministry of Education.ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM
The six-hour Learn-to-Cycle course focused on how to ride a bike around a circuit. Participants were given a safety briefing and taught how to properly put on equipment, such as helmets and knee pads. St Anthony's Canossian Secondary students taking
The six-hour Learn-to-Cycle course focused on how to ride a bike around a circuit. Participants were given a safety briefing and taught how to properly put on equipment, such as helmets and knee pads.ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM
The six-hour Learn-to-Cycle course focused on how to ride a bike around a circuit. Participants were given a safety briefing and taught how to properly put on equipment, such as helmets and knee pads. St Anthony's Canossian Secondary students taking
The six-hour Learn-to-Cycle course focused on how to ride a bike around a circuit. Participants were given a safety briefing and taught how to properly put on equipment, such as helmets and knee pads.ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

St Anthony's Canossian students take part in Learn-to-Cycle, part of Cycle Safe scheme

Joanna Lee, 16, had never ridden a bicycle before she arrived at the Pasir Ris Sports Centre yesterday.

Nor had the 50 other students from St Anthony's Canossian Secondary who, like her, were taking part in a six-hour Learn-to-Cycle course conducted by the Singapore Cycling Federation (SCF), on how to ride a bike around a circuit.

The course is the most basic of SCF's Cycle Safe Programme, which has been endorsed as a Sports Education Programme by Sport Singapore and the Ministry of Education.

Such programmes cater to development of skills and sports knowledge of students.

This means schools can now use Sport Singapore's matching grant of up to $10,000 to adopt the Cycle Safe Programme.

With its four levels of proficiency, Cycle Safe is the first local amateur cycling accreditation programme for students. It also has a Trainer course for coaches and physical education instructors.

Cycle Safe complements the Government's efforts and investment in a car-lite society, the cycling federation said in a statement on Monday.

Yesterday, SCF instructors started with a safety briefing, showing the students how to properly put on equipment, such as helmets and knee pads, and introducing basic road signs along cycling trails.

Many seemed nervous at the start, making half-hearted attempts to step on their pedals but by the time the course was halfway through, they were laughing and smiling as they rode confidently around the circuit.

At the end of the day, they had to take a proficiency test, in which 18 of the participants earned the Learn-to-Cycle certificate and 33, a higher Level 1 certificate.

Joanna confessed to being "slightly scared" at first but ended up having fun. When asked if she would now cycle regularly, she replied: "Maybe with friends."

Ms Nur Taib, 28, a food and nutrition teacher, said she would encourage other schools to adopt the Cycle Safe Programme. She said cycling is an important life skill. "In future, they may want to teach it to their kids."

SCF's sport and technical manager Samuel Yang hopes that through this initiative, Singapore will be able to encourage a "mature setting" where cycling is commonplace, similar to how it is in many other countries such as Denmark, where parent volunteers teach children to cycle.

Such a culture did not yet exist in Singapore, he said.

"We plan to reach out to more schools with assembly talks," he said. The federation hopes to teach at least 2,000 new riders this year.

The SCF has issued 500 certificates to amateur cyclists under the programme and another 300 to trainers.

Besides the Cycle Safe Programme, other cycling interest groups, such as Love Cycling SG, conduct workshops for those who already have basic cycling skills.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) also has a Safe Cycling Programme for students with cycling skills, on traffic awareness and road safety.

The LTA also plans to make a new 90-minute Safe Riding Programme available at selected schools and workers' dormitories from July.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 25, 2017, with the headline 'Students pick up cycling skills in school tie-up'. Print Edition | Subscribe