Cycling, swimming, and other basic life skills we’re at risk of losing

boy learning to ride bicycle

Cycling is a fundamental life skill, and yet according to the government’s latest National Travel Attitudesonly’ 7% of adults have never ridden a bicycle before

Only 7 per cent? That’s a whopping 3.7m adults.

It got us thinking about other valuable abilities that might be in decline. According to Swim England, a staggering one-in-three adults cannot swim – a shocking statistic compounded by the closure of over 1,000 swimming pools in England alone since 2010.

A further 1,500 are at risk of shutting soon.

wild swimming

Despite the popularity of wild swimming, one third of UK adults lack the basic skill

And despite the popularity of TV cooking shows and celebrity chefs, one quarter of young Brits say they couldn’t rustle up a week’s worth of basic meals on their own.

The trouble with reaching adulthood without these competencies is they can’t be passed down to the next generation.

Bikeability: Cycle training for all ages

The cycling proficiency test of old has been replaced by Bikeability – a course currently offered in around half of English primary schools.

Luckily it’s never too late to learn. Adult cycle training is available across England. It’s not currently funded by central government, although your local authority may offer a subsidy.

Learning to cycle won’t take as long as you might think. Bikeability instructors can get the most nervous riders pedalling in under an hour. And you don’t have to learn with children. Courses are delivered one-to-one or in a small group of adults.

You can search for local cycle training providers for your yourself, your child or your family here

The ethical choice

The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. Over 30 years on, we continue to offer cycle insurance , breakdown cover and mobility scooter insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.

The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be the UK’s most ethical provider.


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