“I wish I’d done it sooner!” says Gill Walsh, who trained as a Bikeability instructor when she was 59.
For the last three-and-a-half years, Gill, a former caterer and cleaner, has been teaching children how to cycle across Lancashire and she absolutely loves it.
Gill started as a Bikeability instructor because the job is flexible and she could fit work around the needs of her family. Initially she only worked a couple of days a week to but was able to pick up more sessions when things changed at home.
A lover of the outdoors, Gill was already enjoying cycling on the weekend when she found out about Bikeability through one of her cleaning clients.
For Gill, like many other Bikebility instructors, helping children learn an invaluable life skill is one of the many things she loves about the job.
“It’s wonderful to see the kids gain confidence during their Bikeability sessions and seeing how proud of themselves they are. Especially with the little ones, getting them going and seeing them learn to ride for the first time is lovely.” Said Gill.
Her most treasured instructor anecdote is the story of a 13-year-old boy with special educational needs, who couldn’t ride a bike at all. After lots of hard work from the young rider and lots of encouragement from Gill he was soon cycling with confidence.
Gill said: “Lots of children, and especially teenagers, get embarrassed when they can’t ride a bike. But watching that little lad learn how to cycle and knowing he’d be able to ride with his peers was fantastic. His mum was in tears!”
As well as inspiring the next generation of cyclists, Gill enjoys being a Bikeability instructor because it keeps her active, gets her outdoors and has a team full of friendly faces.
“If you enjoy working outside – and that’s a must, we get all weathers! Then just go for it.” Said Gill.
“There’s a huge mix of instructors, I’m often working with people in their 20s, but then it’s also a great job for people who have taken early retirement. For me, it’s a good way of keeping me going, it helps you stay active!”
Inspired by Gill’s story?
We’re recruiting Bikeability instructors now across the UK and there is a £500 bursary available for training. Find out more on our website and register your interest through our recruitment database.
Stories from our Bikeability champions
“I feel really happy and relaxed when I ride my bike, and it’s given me independence and freedom. “
“It really is a joy to watch our son Josh cycle with a big smile on his face and it brings a tear of happiness to our eyes.”
“Cycling gives you the freedom you need when the world around you is locking down – free your mind, free your body and free your soul-build confidence, strength and do your bit to save the environment!”
“Cycling has been our saviour this year, and feels like it was the only things that wasn’t cancelled.”
“These sessions provided an excellent foundation. It helped to improve our confidence cycling on the roads. Very well experienced, professional and friendly trainers.”
“Cycling is a real life skill. Something you only have to learn once and remember forever.”
“We started family bike rides at the start of lockdown2020 as a way of keeping fit, and sharing an activity that the whole family can continue to enjoy.”
“Giving them the skills to feel more confident on the road is a great step for both them, and myself.”
“Cycling for me is a way to get around; a way to exercise; but most of all it’s a way to have fun together as a family.”
“We went from “I don’t want to!” To “Mummy, can you take me on a bike ride around the estate please?” Her bike has got her away from too much screen time and gained fun, fresh air and exercise!”
“The children are so happy, they feel so accomplished and they are, rightly, so proud of themselves. And we’re so incredibly proud of them too.”
“Using a bike rather than taking the car helps reduce air pollution. We are giving children the skills to make that choice easier and safer”
“I am so unbelievably proud of them. Here’s to many more memories together as a family…on our bikes. Whoop Whoop!!”
“It has been a tremendous help to gain the knowledge to comfortably ride on roads in the correct way and with confidence. Look forward to growing our journey with you in the future.”
“I’m back cycling after a long break, I’m a bit rusty but got some wonderful hints and tips on this website”
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