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Denise Lewis backs Bikeability drive for 1,000 new instructors

Cycling proficiency body aims to teach 500,000 to ride safely by 2012

Former Olympic heptathlon champion Denise Lewis has backed a scheme from Cycling England that will see cycling proficiency body Bikeability employ over 1,000 cycling instructors to teach half a million children to ride a bike safely by 2012.

Ms Lewis, who won gold at the Athens Olympics in 2004 and has three children herself, regularly lends her support to Bikeability and told the BBC News website that she viewed cycling as “a key life skill.”

She added that she believed it was "important that we give children the chance to learn how to cycle safely and independently. My kids love cycling outside in the fresh air, and I love seeing the sense of independence it gives them, but it's really important to make sure they get the right training from day one."

Paul Robinson, training manager at Bikeability England, told the BBC that "Bikeability is quite unlike the old cycling proficiency scheme and instead offers real on the road training. That's why we want parents not only to welcome Bikeability training for their own children but to actively become part of its delivery."

He went on to say that instructors – who can benefit from a raining bursary, and income of up to £20,000 afterwards – “are at the frontline of our nationwide campaign to get 500,000 children Bikeability trained by 2012.”

More information on Bikeability can be found on the scheme’s website, at

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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