Get ready to pedal with free advice from experts

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If a Tour de France winner like Bradley Wiggins can get knocked off his bike, then the rest of us need to watch out.

As someone who only took up regular cycling last year, I consider myself a novice.

Which is why I decided to take advantage of a free service on offer from Pedal Ready.

This is a co-operative company with the aim of getting more people cycling - and very importantly cycling safely.

Based in Sheffield, they also cover Rotherham and do everything from teaching a complete beginner how to ride a bike, to giving tips and advice on road safety to more confident cyclists.

I booked in for a one-to-one on-road adult training session with training coordinator Ken Woodhouse.

This covers three levels, the first in a traffic free location like Clifton Park, then quiet roads, and then on to more challenging stuff.

Ken, 49, of Heeley, said: “We build confidence up at each level so by the time we have people attempting a city centre route, they feel better prepared for it.”

He is a Bikeability trained instructor, and works in schools teaching children about bike safety, as well as with adults.

We started by having a chat, with Ken asking me about my cycling experience, and then we checked over my bike using the M method of looking up and down the bike at all the working parts.

Then Ken assessed my cycling by watching me setting off and stopping. He spotted straight away that I don’t stop with my pedals in the correct position.

He said: “You need to stop with your right pedal up, and your left pedal down so that you can put that foot to the kerb.”

“Then when you set off again you are all ready to go by pushing down with your right foot.”

To begin with I was concentrating so hard on my feet I made mistakes doing some of the simple exercises Ken set me. It’s definitely going to take practice.

Ken watched me turning left, turning right, and pulling out of a junction, advising me all the while on my positioning in the road.

Perhaps controversially Ken doesn’t advocate wearing a helmet. He said: “Bike safety is all about making sure you are visible to motorists, and wearing a helmet doesn’t do that.”

“When you’re on a bike you have to position yourself like you would in a car.”

“That means cycling about a metre from the kerb, giving parked cars a wide berth in case someone opens the door, and always making safety checks. before manoevring.”

Pedal Ready will also plan the best route from home to work to anyone wanting to commute by bike, Dr Bike safety checks, and encourages reycling secondhand bikes with Sheffield’s Recycle Bikes.

For more information go to www.pedalready.co.uk or call 0114 241 2775.