Today’s session was the first of 6 I will be doing at Kearsly West Primary School Bolton. Working with year 6 I had planned a very basic session designed to teach riders the techniques of starting and stopping on a bike safely and effectively whilst giving me the options to progress it for more capable riders.
Riders would begin by setting off down the funnel turning right around the end and returning to their respective lines. This was to practice the setting off technique. I then progressed it to stopping by getting riders to stop in the “stop box” (Red Cones) at the end and return to their lines.
That was the basic core of the session. However half the group ended up not being able to ride a bike and the other half was quite able so motored thought the basics of the plan. Therefore I had to use the extra progressions I had planned for the more capable group and strip the session back down to simply being able to ride a bike for the other.
It takes a while to get riders of that age to brake safely without skidding but when they do get it, I make it harder by getting them to ride at it faster and faster whilst still stopping in the box without skidding. Once I was happy that the group could do this safely I got them to race down in pares with the winner being the first one in the box without skidding.
A further progression would be to get them to balance in the stop box without touching the floor. This would touch on what we would be learning next week; a technique called “Track Standing”. This is where a rider is stationary on the bike but still has their hands and feet on the peddles and handle bars using balance to stay upright.
I put the group who couldn’t ride a bike into the end channel, lowered their saddles and got them to simply walk their bikes up and down the channel like younger riders do on striders (small bikes with no peddles for learning on). Once they started to get enough speed I got them to try and glide so take their feet off the floor whilst moving. This gets them used to balancing the bike while being able to put their feet down easily if they lose control.
Overall I think that the session went well with the more advanced riders progressing through to practicing track stands. While the other group spent the session striding with a couple of riders managing to glide a few meters but nothing more.
However if I was going to do the session again I would have made it more clear to the teachers that for the riders to be able to get the most out of the session they needed to ride a bike already. This small effort before the session would mean my planned session would have gone more smoothly.
Also I would have tried to engage both groups more whereas I ended up moving between the groups quite a lot and because of their varying ability’s each group had occasions where they were being watched for safety but weren’t getting any feedback from what they were doing. If I had done then both groups would have gained more from the session and the riders would have been more responsive to what I asked them to do because I was engaging in what they were doing more. I would have been able to give riders more personal feedback so that they could improve at a greater rate.
The layout of the cones which I had initially used worked quit well as it was three channels of cones with a stop box at the end and more cones to direct riders back to their lines. This made it really easy to adapt it to the two groups because I could simply turn the end channel into a constant loop so that riders can continuously practice whilst the more capable group could still complete the session.