School bicycle course ends up getting moms back on their bicycles

Mom & Son by RichardMasoner on FlickR,http://www.flickr.com/photos/bike/3679897527/
Mom & Son by RichardMasoner on FlickR,http://www.flickr.com/photos/bike/3679897527/

BikeBelles has an article about an interesting program designed to get more kids active and bicycling to school--but ended up getting their mothers bicycling with them:
The groundbreaking Bike It project is usually all about helping children to get fit and healthy by teaching them the skills they need to cycle safely and responsibly. It's been hugely successful, with thousands of pupils now cycling to school every day.

However, James Scott who works as a Bike It Officer in Tower Hamlets in London, found increasingly that he was facing opposition from parents who wouldn't allow their children to cycle to school as they had concerns over road safety.

Not to be deterred, James set about addressing this issue, along with help from Sam Margolis, Active Travel Officer at Tower Hamlets council. They devised the 'Bike It U Can 2' project for parents, to complement the Bike It work in schools. The hope was that by teaching parents how to ride on the road safely, this in turn would encourage them to allow their children ride to school.

Although it wasn't intentional, all of the parents who stepped forward to take part in the project were women - 16 of them in total. Many of them were completely new to cycling or cycled as children and were returning after a break of many years.

Bikeworks, a social enterprise in Tower Hamlets, provided the training and the bikes for the ladies to use, which they were allowed to keep after they had completed the course for a small fee.

On completing the course, Shirin said, "I never thought I'd ride a bike, now things are really going forward. My children have more freedom than I did as a child - they can learn to ride a bike." Tracy, mum of two, said of the project, "It's a good idea for parents to learn to ride; now I can go out with my kids and we can do it as a family."

It's been a real success, and now three of the ladies have already said that they would like to train to be cycle instructors.
More about the Bike It project on the Sustrans website.