Life on a bike-5: Proficiency


I started cycle touring as a ‘young’ teenager just over 50-years ago.  By then I had been cycling for about 8-years or so and already discovered the feeling of freedom just going out for local rides.  However, inspired by my dad’s pre-WWII cycling stories I wanted to go further afield.  Such exploits were to become a life-long experience for me that I am still enjoying but, not surprisingly, before setting out my parents insisted I demonstrate my cycling aptitude and road knowledge first.  Even at that time road traffic was starting to pose more difficult and sometimes dangerous cycling conditions that I needed to be aware and careful of, today the situation is immeasurably worse.

Faced with this requirement and eager to start touring, I needed no encouragement to begin cycle training before eventually taking my Cycling Proficiency Test.  I passed first time and felt both proud and excited at the opportunities this could now open up for me; I still have and treasure the badge I was awarded for passing.  Today’s equivalent scheme is called Bikeablity and in my opinion should be made compulsory for all children and adults who want to ride a bike on public roads.  It’s a small price to pay to learn what I consider to be an essential life skill, which ultimately benefits the individual and society forever.

I shall always be grateful that my parents insisted I prepared for and took the Cycling Proficiency Test.  I was even more surprised that they were then as good as their word and allowed me to take-off on long-distance cycling trips around England, which had a positive influence not just on my life as a cyclist but on me as a person and my future life.

To be continued………………………………


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