General News:

Cycling opportunities boosted for children in Aberdeen through Rock Up & Ride programme


Active Schools Aberdeen has been working alongside Scottish Cycling’s Rock Up & Ride pilot programme (funded by Transport Scotland) and Deeside Thistle Cycling Club to enable more local children to participate in free, easy to access sessions and increase their cycling activity. 

Rock Up & Ride is specifically aimed at children who would not otherwise have access to their own bike, giving them the chance to acquire new skills, techniques and confidence for cycling in an inclusive environment – it has been delivered at eight pilot sites across Scotland.

The Aberdeen City schools involved in the pilot programme were Westpark, Bramble Brae and Heathryburn, as well as 10 children from Aberdeen City Council’s Virtual School.

32 children from primaries 5, 6 and 7 participated in four ‘Learn to ride and look after your bike’ sessions, delivered by Deeside Thistle Cycling Club at Sport Aberdeen’s Northfield 3G pitch from 1500 to 1700 on 11 November, 25 November, 2 December and 9 December.

At the end of the fourth session, the children were each given a fully-funded, brand new bike to take home along with accessories including a helmet, lock, lights and gloves, and bike maintenance support.

The children will be able to use their bikes for active travel such as cycling to school, the shops or other short journeys, and experience the independence that cycling provides.

Michael Devine, Rock Up and Ride Coordinator at Scottish Cycling, said: “The Rock Up and Ride programme has been extremely successful in providing young people with the opportunity to be coached by our fantastic club coaches to help them develop a real love of cycling.

“It’s been a pleasure to provide these brand-new bikes to the young people of Aberdeen who will hopefully push on and participate in the sport for years to come as well as using their bike as a means to commute.

“I would like to extend my sincere thanks to both the Aberdeen Active Schools team and Deeside Thistle for all their hard work in organising and putting on the sessions. Hopefully this is the start of many more Rock Up and Ride sessions to take place in Aberdeen.”

Kathleen Fraser, Deeside Thistle Cycling Club Coach, said: “It has been extremely rewarding as a coach to help children learn to ride a bike and develop their cycling skills over a 4-week block of lessons.

“The children have grown in confidence and have been an absolute delight to coach, demonstrating enthusiasm and determination to learn a new skill. We know that they will enjoy riding with their friends and continue to have fun on bikes.”

Graeme Dale, Head of Sport and Active Communities at Sport Aberdeen, said: “We are delighted to be part of the Rock Up & Ride pilot programme – it is incredible that 32 children in Aberdeen have received their own free bike to use and maintain.

“It’s great to be working in partnership with Deeside Thistle Cycling Club and Scottish Cycling on this programme. I hope the children continue to enjoy cycling, reap the positive impacts that it brings and have lots of fun whilst riding!”

Above: Free bikes issued to children through Rock Up & Ride programme