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  • pg 1


                       16TH JULY 2008


      1.       OBJECTIVES

      The objectives of CHANGING GEAR are:

      a)       to encourage secondary school pupils at five secondary schools in the Stroud
               Valleys to cycle to and from school during Bike Week (16-20)

      b)       to bring “cycling to school” higher up the agenda of the local authorities as a
               basis for improving the access routes


      In 2008 the five participating schools were (names in brackets are the contact
           Archway School1 (John Smith, Alice Day, Steve Saville)
           Maidenhill School2 (Kevin Day)
           Marling School3 (Frank Gann)
           Stroud High School4 (Angie Zuckowski)
           Thomas Keble School5 (Colin Travis)


      3.1      Promoters

      CHANGING GEAR was promoted by:
       Stroud Pedestrian and Cycling Forum
       Stroud Valleys Cycle Campaign
       Transition Stroud Travel and Transport Group
       Transport 21

      ..under the umbrella of BIKE WEEK6

      3.2      Sponsors

      CHANGING GEAR received sponsorship from:

           Bike Week – which provided 100 spoke reflectors, balloons and helmet stickers as
            well as public liability insurance cover. Bike Week was itself sponsored by NOKIA.
            A copy of the event organiser‟s guide is available at


          Stroud Valleys Cycle Campaign – which provided copies of the Stroud District
           Cycling Map to participating schools and also handled the funds that were raised.
          Gloucestershire County Council – which contributed five cycle helmets
          Stroud District Council and Stroud Town Council, both of which contributed £300
           towards the cycle vouchers
          Ecotricity, Green Fuels Ltd, the Green Shop Group and Transport 21 – each of which
           contributed £100 towards the cycle vouchers.
          A further £250 was raised from the local cycle shops (Cytek, Noah‟s Ark and
           Stonehouse Accessories) which all agreed to honour vouchers with a cash value of
           £25, for which they would only receive £20 in reimbursement.
          300 copies of the Stroud District Cycling Map were distributed

      The contribution of all of these sponsors is acknowledged with thanks.


      The idea of encouraging secondary school pupils to cycle to school came from Councillors
      Sarah Lunnon and Brian Oosthuysen and was taken forward by the Changing Gear (CG)
      team7. There were several key stages involved in promoting the event.

      The first key to getting CHANGING GEAR started was to engage with the head
      teachers of the five schools. This was achieved thanks to County Councillor Brian
      Oosthuysen (also Chairman of Governors at Archway), who contacted each of the Head
      Teachers, and to Mr Colin Belford (Head Teacher at Archway) who invited the other
      heads to a meeting. Although poorly attended, it did provide the basis for getting the
      show on the road. The minutes of this meeting are in Annex 1. No other meetings
      involving all five schools proved possible and all other contact was by email and
      occasional phone calls.

      The second key was getting each school to appoint someone within the school to take
      responsibility and to both establish and maintain contact with him/her. Such contact
      was not always easy to establish/maintain because teachers are busy with their work
      during the day such that phone communication depends upon leaving messages with the
      hope of a return call or upon email. In general, email proved the more important.
      Another time it will be important to visit the school and spend time with the appointed
      person, but time and other commitments did not allow this on this occasion. We
      appreciate the significant contribution of time and effort of the contact teachers.

      The third key was to create awareness amongst the pupils, which was achieved in
      different ways at the schools. Central to the promotional effort was a CHANGING
      GEAR promotional template, drafted by the Changing Gear Team, which was widely used
      by the schools (Annex 2). 300 copies of the Stroud District Cycling Map were
       At Archway the promotional letter was sent round to all the pupils.
       Maidenhill decided that, due to its particular present circumstances, it would not
          promote the event throughout the whole school but focus on those who already

    James Beecher, John Meadley and Robert Reed

          cycle to school and on years 7-8. This was done by personal contact and reflected
          the enthusiasm of the contact person.
         At Marling it was possible to talk to the weekly assemblies of each of years 7 – 10
          and to promote the event. This proved to be the most successful approach in terms
          of generating numbers.
         At Stroud High School it was promoted through the use of school television
         At Thomas Keble promotion was much as at Maidenhill.

      The fourth and fundamental key was having some activities and rewards for
      participants. The main activity, in addition to cycling to and from school, was an hour
      of cycle skills training whilst the rewards included the chance of winning a helmet, a
      £25 cycle voucher, a spoke reflector, post coding of bikes by the police and (in some
      cases) participating in a bikers‟ breakfast. There are many good reasons for pupils
      cycling to school – relating to health and the environment as well as being fun, cheap,
      avoids traffic jams and gives independence of travel. However, whilst these will be
      acknowledged by the pupils, they are far more likely to be attracted by the rewards or
      by having a secure place to store their bikes and their panniers/cycling gear.

      4.3     THE MEDIA
      Considerable time was spent with the media promoting the event. This included
      meetings with SNJ (2) and Stroud Life (1) and contact with BBC Gloucestershire.
      Despite significant interest at the times of the meetings, there was little newspaper
      coverage. It was crowded out by more immediate events or by the mass of village fetes
      taking place at the same time. BBC Glos did report on its traffic news, each morning
      and afternoon, that pupils were cycling to school around Stroud and asking drivers to
      take care. Whilst it would have been nice to have coverage of the event, in reality it is
      what happened at the schools – and subsequently – that matters.

      A promotional banner (2.4 x 0.6m) was displayed by the Waitrose roundabout, the space
      having been booked from Stroud District Council 8. It cost £72.50 to make9. Many
      lessons were learned in the process, not the least being that the logos of the various
      participating organisations are required in “vector” format rather than “pixilated”
      format, the latter blurring when the type size is increased. It took many hours to
      chase these from sponsors, or in one case to have it converted (thanks to Transition
      Stroud supporters for this). The banner was laser-printed digitally, with only the dates
      being added in peel-off vinyl so that the banner can be used again.

      4.5     CELEBRITIES
      Thought was given to involving local celebrities in CHANGING GEAR, particularly
      former pupils who might visit the schools, but time did not permit this to be followed up
      this year.

    Produced by Stroud Sign Centre (01453 759126)

   Participating pupils were asked to register, using a form on the back of the promotional
   leaflet. This form asked them to identify their route to and from school, including in
   particular any locations that they found difficult, and also to confirm the support of
   their parents or guardians. A copy of the form is in Annex 3. In future more formal
   arrangements should be made for the collection of the forms, which provide valuable
   feedback data.


   There were two main activities – cycling to and from school and participating in the
   cycle skills training. In addition, bikers‟ breakfasts were held at Marling and Stroud
   High. Around 60 pupils enjoyed the Marling breakfast, organised by the schools‟ PTA.
   At Stroud High the breakfast was organised by the school café, which also provided a
   hamper/picnic for 4 as a prize.

   237 pupils cycled over 1,200 km/day during Bike Week, whilst 114 received cycle skills
   training. The numbers are shown below.

                    BEFORE                           A DAY                     TRAINING
ARCHWAY                15              39              45           200             0
MAIDENHILL             15              25              45           200            24
MARLING                15              55              81           350            59
STROUD HIGH            0               25              37            ?              12
THOMAS KEBLE           14              21              29           100             19
TOTAL                  59             165             237           300            114

   Various reasons were given by pupils for NOT cycling to school. These were:

   It is too far to cycle. This is more likely to be true with Marling and Stroud High
   where pupils come from up to 30 miles away.

   It is too hilly. There are certainly some steep hills (e.g. going up to Minchinhampton,
   top of Nailsworth, Rodborough etc) in the area which make cycling difficult, particularly
   with a heavy rucksack. One possible option to be (hopefully) tested next year is to
   provide pupils with the opportunity to test an electric bike.

   I have too much gear to carry. This can be true when pupils are bringing musical
   instruments or cricket bags. The use of panniers could help in some instances, as well as
   having access to a locker where panniers and goods could be stored securely, and the
   possibility of trailers could be considered. In the case of cricket, if schools have decent
   basic equipment (particularly pads) then pupils need only bring bat, box, helmet and
   boots – which can fit more easily into panniers. The possibility of building low cost
   trailers is also being considered.

   The roads are too dangerous. This is particularly true at Thomas Keble, where many
   pupils would need to cycle up a long, winding and narrow main road (Chalford Hill) and

where the County Council lays on a free bus service between the school and Bisley
because the narrow road has fast moving traffic. With other schools there are also
particular locations where cycling is difficult, although with care and judicious use of
the pavement many of the pupils were able to cycle to school. This is reviewed in
section 5.4.

There is nowhere to store the bikes at the school. This is true for all schools. None
of the schools have secure, covered cycle storage and this is a major constraint cited
by pupils. At Archway, 21 pupils raised lack of secure storage as a reason for not
cycling to school and several pupils had items stolen from their bikes during the week.
However, both Maidenhill and Archway will have installed modern secure cycle stores by
the end of the year. Both Marling and Stroud High will shortly start their travel plans,
which should provide sufficient funds to construct secure cycle storage for at least
some bikes. Thomas Keble has a covered shed but with limited security and is not in the
line of sight.

I can walk to school. This is a fair excuse, and walking to school is to be encouraged.

There is a school bus. This is preferable to travelling by car, although where distance
and safety permits cycling can be fun, cheap and gives independence of movement.

My parent(s) pass the school and this is easier to travel with them. As above.

5.3.1       Introduction: Enquiries to Gloucestershire County Council, which provides
Cycle Training in most of the County's secondary schools, revealed that none of the 5
secondary schools involved in Changing Gear received regular training, or had any
scheduled in the near future, and that the Council had no plans for Bike Week. The main
reason given by GCC was inconsistent demand at the schools concerned. Hopefully, the
Changing Gear initiative has gone some way to prove that - as elsewhere in the country -
large numbers of pupils are interested in training that can help them cycle more often
and more safely. The instructors are qualified to the National Standard (both having
trained at Lifecycle in Bristol), but focussed on providing fun activities and introducing
ideas relevant to on-road conditions, rather than on teaching specific parts or 'Levels'
of the National Standard. Below is a summary of the sessions, which were each 1 hour
long, and of lessons learned from them.

5.3.2       Introductions/registration
• At each school, the instructors met pupils at the Bike Parking facilities. These were
without exception overcrowded, with bikes being locked to each other, to benches or
fences or to nothing at all. Improvements in secure parking are critical for increasing
the numbers of children riding to school - and the need for such improvements was
clearly demonstrated at each of the schools.
• Introductions of Instructors and pupils were held at the bike parking facilities. Pupils
seemed interested in our background as cyclists and - in addition to clearly arriving and
leaving on bikes - it appeared that this inspired at least some of the pupils.

• An additional intention of the introductions was to gauge pupil's background ability,
needs and preferences, and to alter our lesson plan to suit them accordingly. Due to lack
of time we were rarely able to establish sufficient understanding to do this as
effectively as we would have liked.

• Ground rules were set; responsibilities and behaviour were agreed upon before the
session. Though in larger groups keeping all children attentive proved difficult at times,
in smaller groups this certainly helped to establish a good learning environment.

5.3.3       Helmet suitability and fitting
• Within the introduction section, we discussed appropriate clothing with pupils -
including the benefits and limitations of Helmets and Hi-Visibility Jackets.
• Helmet-wearing was highly variable. While our line was not to recommend helmets but
to encourage research into the benefits and disadvantages, we were concerned by the
fact that very few helmets were fitted correctly. Debates about helmets aside, it is
universally agreed that a poorly fitting helmet is worse than no helmet at all. Perhaps
some responsibility may lie with Bike shops, but we feel that it is unlikely they have
long-term control. Providing parents with more information, and reminding pupils
wherever possible may be the best way forward.

5.3.4       Maintenance
• Pupils were introduced to the simple 'M-Check' system.
• Problems encountered included tyres not sufficiently inflated, brakes not adjusted
correctly, headsets loose, seats at incorrect height, bottom brackets, pedals and cranks
loose, quick release not correctly fitted. The worst problem encountered was a snapped
fork - this was the only instance where we did not allow the pupil to take part in the
session on their bike (we encouraged them to listen and take part in the learning
• Alterations to bikes were discussed with pupils, however due to lack of time any
maintenance corrections were carried out by instructors. There was not sufficient time
to carry out all alterations - only those necessary for the session.
• Several pupils with incorrectly adjusted gears could not take full advantage of
exercises designed to check understanding of the use of gears. Due to time constraints,
adjustments could not be made but brief explanations of gear maintenance was given.
• Knowledge about cycle maintenance varied considerably. While some enthusiasts were
clearly knowledgeable, there is clearly a need for basic (and possibly more advanced)
maintenance training - as well as a desire for such training among pupils.

5.3.5        Activities Delivered: Control skills.
• The idea behind the session was to teach pupils some cycle control skills through
enjoyable games.
• The pupils were continuously asked how to apply these skills in a road setting.
• All activities referred back to correct methods of starting on-road journeys
• Slow races - key messages being Covering Brakes, Balance, and being in control at
• '„Put your foot down‟ - built on the previous skills and introduced pupils to the
importance of being aware of road users and other hazards.
• Slalom - built on control skills and hazard awareness
• Limbo -
• Pupils seemed to enjoy all activities. More importantly, it was possible to observe
visible improvements in the abilities of most participants.
• Pupils seemed keen to continue with similar sessions - and in particular applying the
techniques to road-settings. Techniques for negotiating roundabouts frequently came up
when we asked what pupils would like to learn, given more time. This could easily be
incorporated into future courses.

5.3.6        Activities not delivered.
• With mixed ability pupils and time restrictions it was not possible to spend time on
more advanced techniques, such as Wheelies, Bunny hops, rear wheel raises, and
cornering techniques.
• The pupils continually attempted these activities during practical sessions.
• Future session could easily include these activities, which would greatly contribute to
the pupil‟s interest in the sessions, while also improving their control skills.

5.3.7        Difficulties with mixed sessions.
• Where sessions were made up of pupils from mixed ages, pupils with lower ability
tended to engage less and subsequently did not gain as much.
• In this situation older pupils were encouraged to act responsibly and to help to teach
the younger pupils alongside the instructors.
• Ability often varied substantially within single age groups as well. In future it may be
advantageous to attempt to group pupils by ability (perhaps following an introductory
'gauging' session).
• Bicycles used also varied. Several bikes were not ideally suited to commuting to school
- though they usually belonged to pupils with specialist interest, which was related to
more advanced skill and awareness of maintenance. These pupils often gained less from
the fairly basic sessions we were running. For instance, pupils with single speed bikes
gained less from the introduction to correct gear practical.
• In future lesson plans could be designed to cater for Commuting, BMX and off-road
mountain bikes.

5.3.8       Conclusions on training issues:
Due to time constraints both prior to the week and during it, the sessions that were run
were limited in scope. This was compounded by the need to spend time ensuring bikes
were roadworthy, and on trying to balance the sessions to suit pupils of varying ability.
In future, these problems could be largely overcome by visiting schools prior to the
main sessions, or establishing longer-term projects.

Furthermore, these problems should not take away from the fact that the sessions
were hugely successful. Pupils seemed to enjoy the activities, and were largely
interested and engaged in discussions. At the end of all sessions pupils were asked
whether they had learned something, and it appeared that they overwhelmingly had. We
can assume that the sessions achieved their main objectives of providing pupils with fun
activities that might inspire them to develop their cycling, and to begin a process of
thinking about techniques that could improve their on-road comfort and safety.

It is also clear that there are areas where there is scope for - and pupil interest in -
further sessions.



        HOME              DISTANCE (km)             NUMBER             DISTANCE
                                                    CYCLING        TRAVELLED (one way)
Amberley                  6                   4                   24
Bisley                    12                  1                   12
Bowbridge                 3                   1                   3
Brimscombe                6                   2                   12
Cainscross                1                   2                   2
Cashes Green              1                   9                   9
Dudbridge                 1                   1                   1
Dursley                   16                  1                   16
Eastington                11                  5                   55
Ebley                     1                   6                   6
Elkstone                  16                  1                   16
Forest Green              9                   3                   27
Frampton                  13                  2                   26
France Lynch              10                  1                   10
Horsley                   10                  1                   10
Kings Stanley             4                   5                   20
Leonard‟s Stanley         5                   1                   5
Longford‟s Mill           ?                   1
Minchinhampton            9                   2                   18
Nailsworth                8                   18                  144
Nympsfield                9                   2                   18
Paganhill                 1                   2                   2
Painswick                 7                   1                   7
Randwick                  3                   3                   9
Rodborough                2                   5                   10
Ryeford                   4                   1                   4
Ruscombe                  3                   1                   3
Stonehouse                5                   5                   25
Stroud – Bath Road        1                   1                   1
Stroud – Highfield Road   1                   1                   1
Stroud – Slad Road        1                   2                   2
Stroud – Top o‟ the       1                   6                   6
Stroud - Uplands          1                   4                   4
Thrupp                    3                   1                   3
Whiteshill                3                   2                   6
Woodchester               4                   8                   32
TOTAL                                         109                 549

        Note that 34 used the Nailsworth Cycle Track – to Amberley, Nailsworth, Horsley,
        Forest Green and Woodchester.


        HOME                 DISTANCE        NUMBER                 DISTANCE TRAVELLED
                                (km)                                    (one way)
Brimscombe               4                  2             8
Bussage                  1                  5             5
Chalford                 2                  6             12
Eastcombe                1                  2             2
TOTAL                                       15            27


Some of the registration forms from Maidenhill were mislaid – so the following are only an
indication based on information from 11 pupils.

            HOME                 DISTANCE        NUMBER             DISTANCE TRAVELLED
                                    (km)                                 (one way)
Bridgend                     2               1                 2
Cashes Green                 5               3                 15
Ebley                        4               3                 12
Kings Stanley                2               2                 4
Ryeford                      2               1                 2
Stonehouse (Little           1               1                 1
Total                                        11                36


      Year 7       55
      Year 8       67
      Year 9       17
      Year 10      37
      Year 11       1
      Year 12       4
      Total        181

       A significant number of pupils have continued to cycle to school since the end of
          Bike Week
       Pupils at Marling and Maidenhill have asked the cycle trainers to assist them to
          establish an after-school cycle club
       There is interest in building the bamboo trailer 10


     Several parents have commented favourably on the fact their offspring are cycling
      to school and the independence that it gives
     A follow up meeting was held with the local authorities (see 10 below)
     Teachers have asked if they can access the government‟s CYCLE TO WORK scheme
      through the County Council

6.     REWARDS
It seemed important to provide pupils with some incentive for cycling to school, which
proved to be the case. These were as follows:

£1,250 was raised from sources noted in 3.2 above, allowing each school to have 10 x
£25 vouchers that could be won by pupils. These vouchers, valid until 1 September
2008, were numbered (1-50) and redeemable only at the three local cycle shops –
Cytek, Noah‟s Ark and Stonehouse Accessories. When issued, the vouchers required
the name of the school, of the winner, of the teacher and the signature of the winner.
When redeemed at the cycle shop the winner is required to sign a second time. Each
school was provided with a table to record, against the number of each voucher, the
name and signatures of the winners so that a full list could be provided to the cycle
shops as a further attempt to prevent fraud. In the event, not all schools were able to
provide this – indicative of the pressure under which teachers operate – so the shops
did not receive this comprehensive list. The cycle shops have said that they are happy
with the current system, and that such a list is not necessary in future. The funds for
the vouchers were held by Stroud Valleys Cycle Campaign.

6.2      CYCLE HELMETS. Five brightly coloured cycle helmets were provided by GCC‟s
         Travel Plan Officer, which were allocated one per school. These were popular
         prizes. However, a concern raised by one school was that these were adult
         helmets and did not fit a year 8 pupil.

6.3      NOKIA/BIKE WEEK REFLECTORS. 100 of these reflectors were supplied by
         Bike Week and 20 allocated to each school. Again, these were generally popular.

6.4      STROUD DISTRICT CYCLE MAPS. These were offered to all schools, an offer
         taken up by three of them – which made use of 300 maps.

6.5      CERTIFICATES. All schools were sent a copy of the I DID IT certificate
         produced by Bike Week. None of the schools made use of them, since they are
         probably not very interesting for secondary school pupils.

6.6      HOW REWARDS WERE ALLOCATED. In all cases the rewards were allocated
         on the basis of names out of a hat. It was originally intended that only those
         who had cycled to school every day should be eligible, but recording those who
         actually cycled each day was not easy – although this was achieved at Archway
         and the probability of winning a prize was related to the number of days cycled
         to school. Ten vouchers and 20 reflectors were allocated to each school,
         although the number of pupils cycling at each school varied from 15 to 81.
         Whether or not this should be changed requires further thought. At Marling
         the awards were made at the bikers‟ breakfast, and some of those who won
         awards were not at the breakfast or had not cycled to school that day. Clearly
         there is scope for learning lessons for next time.


      It was anticipated that the schools, as well as parents, would raise concerns about the
      safety of their pupils/offspring cycling to and from school and considerable time was
      spent anticipating how to respond to this. Early ideas included asking Head Teachers to
      write to all parents about safety issues, but this proved impractical. A second idea was
      to prepare material for each school to have on its website. Finally it was decided to
      create a specific CHANGING GEAR website11 under the TRANSITION STROUD
      banner, to which each school would have a link on its own website. The advantage of this
      is that it can be regularly updated from within Transition Stroud. This website covers
      issues relating to health, environmental benefits, general safety, helmets, high-viz
      clothing, training, mechanics etc and will also provide a vehicle for follow up activities.
      The website does not take a view on specific issues, rather it points the reader to
      authoritative sources of information on them.

      7.2     PUPILS‟ CONCERNS
      In his/her registration form each pupil noted where they cycled from to get to school
      (see 5.4 above) and also any locations that they found difficult or dangerous. The
      findings are summarised below (with full details in the spreadsheet). The first table
      refers to the three Stroud schools – Archway, Marling and Stroud High.

           DIFFICULT AREA                 FREQUENCY
           Autos                               1
           A419                                1
           Balls Green                         1
           Bath Road                           1
           Bisley Road                         1
           Brimscombe Canal (narrow &
           o/grown)                            2
           Cainscross Road                     5
           Cainscross Roundabout              28
           Cashes Green Bridge                 1
           Clothiers Lane                      1
           Country lanes                       2
           Dr Newton's Way (no cycle path)     1
           Dudbridge Road                      3
           Crossing busy roads                 1
           Crossing A46 to Culver Hill         1
           Ebley                               1
           Ebley bypass                        2
           Farmhill                            1
           Fire station                        1
           Glos/Cheltenham Rds junction A46    1
           Horsetrough roundabout              3

           London Road                           4
           Lypiatt to "top of Stroud"            1
           Merrywalks Roundabout                 8


   Nailsworth cycle track                 6
   None                                  53
   Paganhill (esp. mini r'about)          3
   Perry Way                              2
   Rodborough Hill jct to Bath Road       3
   Sainsbury's Roundabout                16
   Slad Road                              1
   Stanley Mill/hump-back bridge          1
   Stratford Park roundabout (A46)        1
   Stroud Bus Station                     1
   The Cold                               1

   54 pupils either had no concerns or failed to complete the section identifying
   concerns. Of those who did complete the section, the most important areas for
   concern are:
    Cainscross Roundabout/Road
    Sainsbury‟s Roundabouts at Dudbridge
    Merrywalks Roundabout
    Nailsworth cycle track

   That these are quoted so often also reflects that these are some of the most
   common areas where pupils are cycling. Other pupils travelling on less popular
   routes also have key areas of concern (e.g. the junction of Rodborough Hill and the
   A46), Dr Newton‟s Way, Stratford Park roundabout on A46 etc. Archway staff
   suggested a possible way of coping with Cainscross roundabout – using Southgate
   Gardens at the top of Dudbridge Road and crossing by the lights.
   The table below refers to Thomas Keble School

   Four ways junction                  4
   None                                3
   Tanglewood way                      2
   Old Neighbourhood Hill              1
   Crossing Toadsmoor Road             1
   Dr Crouches Way onto Toadsmoor Hill 1
   Middle Hill                         1
   Toadsmoor Hill                      1
   Lights on Toadsmoor Hill            1

   The table below refers to Maidenhill School – based on only 11 forms

   DIFFICULT AREA                  FREQUENCY
   Busy Roads                         1
   Crossing Ebley Road                1
   Ebley Road - verges overhang
   road                               1
   Horsetrough roundabout             4
   None                               2
   Roundabouts                        1
   Slow traffic lights at Bridgend    1

Clearly roundabouts are a major concern at all schools.

Good relations were established with the local constabulary, although it took a long time
to find the right person - Sergeant Karl Wallace – which led to two key outcomes;
a) agreement that pupils would not be prosecuted for cycling on the pavement,
    provided that they gave priority to pedestrians – particularly older people. The
    possibility of converting pavements to joint pedestrian and cycling areas was
    discussed, to be taken up in the evaluation meeting.
b) An offer to post-code the bikes of all participating pupils. Two CSPOs attended all
    the cycle training sessions and post-coded more than 100 cycles.

7.4      INSURANCE
Public liability insurance covering the event was arranged by registering with Bike Week.

The Bike Week organisers encouraged the various events to raise funds for charity – its
nominated charity being SPORTSAID. In the time available it was felt that this would
not be possible, although this could be considered next year.

CHANGING GEAR had no formal organisation. It was formally promoted in the name of
the Stroud District Pedestrian and Cycling Forum and the funds were managed by
Stroud Valleys Cycle Campaign. CHANGING GEAR depended upon the commitment of
the nominated teachers within each school who worked within a framework, and using
items and services, provided by the CG organising team. The nature of the activities
that required organisation is shown in the critical path (attached). The activities
organised by the CG team included:
 Registering with Bike Week
 Organising the vouchers (raising funds, liaising with cycle shops, designing and
    printing vouchers and following up with the shops)
 Addressing safety issues and designing/developing the web site
 Preparing the bike (M) check forms
 Preparing the lesson plans for the cycle training
 Undertaking a risk assessment at each school
 Delivering the skills training at each school
 Liaising with the local police, agreeing about riding on the pavement and the post-
    coding of the bikes
 Preparing the promotional document for the schools
 Designing and printing the banner
 Preparing articles for the press and radio
 Promotion of the event at the schools
 Drafting the registration forms
 Analysing the feedback from the pupils
 Liaison with the schools

The activities undertaken by the teachers included:
 Promoting CHANGING GEAR with the school
 Distributing and collecting registration forms
 Organising the skills training
 Collating and sending off data and feedback
 Recording who cycled to school
 Organising the awarding of the prizes and organising a bikers‟ breakfast


A meeting was held on 9 July with representatives of the County Council (Highways,
Road Safety for Schools and Schools Travel), Stroud District Council (Development
Services), Gloucestershire Police, Marling School and the CHANGING GEAR team.
Notes on the meeting are in Annex 4. Key recommendations of the meeting were to:
a) significantly increase the opportunity for on-road training for secondary school pupils
in the Stroud Valleys; start the Stroud District Cycling Strategy as soon as possible;
and c) to demonstrate a response to pupils‟ concerns by identifying practical and cost-
effective ways of making the stretch from the Sainsbury‟s roundabout to the
Cainscross roundabout more cycle-friendly.


A number of lessons have been learned from this year‟s experience. The following are
the key ones, although we anticipate a number of more detailed lessons to come from
the schools once they have had the chance to read this report and comment.

     This year planning did not start until early April – allowing only ten weeks (including
      three weeks of holidays). Next year the planning for CHANGING GEAR should
      start earlier, in order to allow the schools more time to plan and to achieve greater
      ownership of the activities both by the school and by the pupils.
     Starting earlier should allow time to establish a clearer basis for communication
      with the nominated teachers.
     The need for storage of cycles, as well as cycling gear and backpacks etc, is clear at
      all schools
     Firmer commitments need to be secured from the Media to include information both
      beforehand and afterwards
     If banners are to be produced then logos will be needed in vector format in good
     If celebrities are to be involved, they will need to be contacted in good time
     A formal system will be needed for the collection of registration forms for analysis
     A number of lessons relating to cycle training are noted in 5.3
     Once the vouchers have been redeemed, lessons need to be learned about how they
      were allocated to schools, how they were won by pupils and whether any additional
      measures are necessary to prevent fraud.

Despite a late start, the main two objectives were achieved – a 350% increase in the
number of secondary school pupils cycling to school and cycling to school being brought
higher up the agenda of the local authorities. Relationships have been established with
the five schools, all of which recognise that given more time they could encourage more
pupils to cycle to school and gain more ownership through involving the pupils in the
planning process. Relationships have also been established with individuals in the local
authorities, who have responded to the issues raised by the pupils and are willing to be
involved in the planning of next year‟s event – when it is to be hoped that there will not
only be more pupils involved, and more schools involved but also some tangible evidence
that routes to schools on a bicycle are more user-friendly and each school has a secure,
dry place for the pupils to store their bikes whilst at school. We are grateful to all who
have contributed to CHANGING GEAR.


Present:       Colin Belford (Archway)
               Frank Gann (Marling)
               Cllr Sarah Lunnon
               John Meadley
               Cllr Brian Oosthuysen

The meeting centred on version 2 of the strategy paper and the key points emerged.

   1.   INTENTION TO PARTICIPATE. Archway and Marling Schools confirmed their
        intention to participate in the proposed National Bike Week activities. It was noted
        that Maidenhill, Stroud High and Thomas Keble had indicated their participation in
        principle. AGREED to follow up with the other schools.

   2. NEED FOR REPRESENTATION. Both Marling and Archway agreed to confirm by
      Friday 4 April the name of the person to be responsible for their participation. The
      other schools to be encouraged to do the same.

   3. TYPES OF ACTIVITIES. Agreed that, in addition to cycling to and from school,
      other activities (noted in point 3 of the strategy document) should be considered –
      including a bikers‟ breakfast and checking of bikes.

   4. STORAGE. It seems that none of the schools has adequate secure (or covered)
      storage for the number of bikes anticipated and each will need to make some special
      arrangements. The experience during NBW could help schools to decide how to
      improve such facilities in future – including bike storage and lockers.

   5. SAFETY ISSUES. The pros and cons of wearing a helmet and high visibility
      clothing were discussed. Each school will be encouraged to read the literature on
      this and decide its own policy. This could perhaps be part of the citizenship

   6. ENGAGING WITH PARENTS. Decisions about whether or not pupils cycle to
      school rests with parents. However, the schools will need to make parents aware of
      the promotion of cycling during NBW and point them to sources of information on
      matters relating to safety.

      initiative is being promoted under the umbrella of NBW, each school will in practice
      be making its own organisational arrangements. It was agreed that the Stroud
      District Pedestrian and Cycling Forum should be asked to register the event with
      National Bike Week.

   8. INSURANCE. Public liability insurance can be secured free of charge through
      NBW once the event is registered with NBW.

9. MEDIA IDENTITY. Once registered with NBW, the NBW will be downloaded and
   used to create the public identity of the event. It was agreed that CHANGING
   GEAR was a suitable strap-line for the event.

10. FUND RAISING. The suggestion of NBW that the event is enhanced if pupils are
    raising funds for a good cause. NBW suggests Sports Relief.

 Approach the three remaining schools to secure their support
 Each participating school to advise Cllr Oosthuysen and John Meadley of their
    nominated organiser
 Confirm the support of SDC
 Seek the support of Stroud Town Council
 Inform relevant County, District and Town Councillors
 Contact GCC Highways Department and Road Safety officers
 Seek the endorsement of the SD Pedestrian and Cycling Forum
 Register with NBW and download logo and promotional material
 Book the Merrywalks bridge
 Approach local cycle shops for support and sponsorship
 Engage with the local media
 Meet the local police – both re traffic issues and also the post-coding of bikes
 Liaise with Transition Stroud Transport Group re its participation

12. NEXT MEETING. It was agreed that a second meeting should be arranged,
    hopefully involving all the schools, at the beginning of April – after the Easter break
    and when the organisers at each school are known. As a result of this it should be
    possible to start the planning process at each school.

Notes taken by John Meadley


                      CYCLING TO SCHOOL
Why not cycle to school during National Bike Week (NBW) – 16-20th June? When
you cycle to school you can travel when you want and with whom you want, you get
fit, you don‟t get stuck in the traffic, you don‟t produce any nasty fumes and it
doesn‟t cost you anything. Hard to beat!

If you cycle to school during NBW you will have the chance to have your bike
checked for roadworthiness and of an hour of cycling skills and games with ‘bike-
ability’ instructors as well as learning some cycle maintenance skills. For those who
cycle every day during National Bike Week there will be the chance to win one of
ten £25 vouchers that you can spend at a local cycle shop or one of twenty NBW
spoke reflectors – and you can enjoy a special bikers‟ breakfast on arrival at school
on Friday 20th.

In order to take part you will need to register – using the form overleaf. We need
to know who is coming so that we can organise the bike checks, training and places
to lock up the bikes. This year we will have to make some temporary lock-up
arrangements but by next year we hope to have much improved facilities for
storing bikes at school. When you register we will also ask you about your route to
schools and places where you feel uncomfortable on a bike. We will use this
information to discuss our combined concerns with the police and with the
Highways Authority.

We know that some people are concerned about pupils cycling to school so we would
like to encourage everyone to take a look at the information that will be available on
the school web site – which covers issues such as how to ride sensibly, helmets,
high viz and so on.

Not everyone will be able to cycle to school – because of distance or for other
reasons. But we hope that you will feel encouraged to use your bike more often –
particularly during National Bike Week.


Name …………………………………………………. Year ……………………………………..

School …………………………………………………………………………………

I intend to cycle to and from school during National Bike Week (16 – 20 June 2008). I
undertake to cycle responsibly and to maintain my bicycle in a roadworthy condition


From where will you be cycling? …………………………………………..

What is the approximate distance? …………………………………

Are there any points on your route where you feel uncomfortable – for example because
there is a lot of traffic or the road is narrow or you need to cross the road? Please
describe these places as we are hoping that the local authorities will act on this information
to improve conditions.






I confirm that I have discussed this with my family or guardian and that I will read the
safety information that will be provided before National Bike Week.

Signed ………………………………………………………………

Date …………………………………………………………………

Please return this form to …………………………………………by ………………………………………………….


James Beecher (Changing Gear)
Andre Bovington (Road Safety Team Leader for Schools, Gloucestershire County Council)
Colin Drewett (Stroud Police)
Frank Gann (Marling School)
Sarah Lunnon Stroud District Councillor)
John Meadley (Changing Gear)
Anthony Meehan (Sustainable Schools Travel Manager, Gloucestershire County Council)
Rob Reed (Changing Gear)
John Roberts (Stakeholder Manager – Central, Gloucestershire Highways)
Graham Stanley (Chief Executive, Transport 21)
Barry Wyatt (Strategic Head, Development Services, Stroud District Council)

Apologies: Councillor Brian Oosthuysen

The purpose of the meeting was to consider the CHANGING GEAR report and how to respond to
the difficult locations identified by the participating pupils. These locations are identified
below. The frequency with which specific locations are mentioned is clearly influenced by the
number of pupils cycling a particular route (e.g. 34 pupils using the Nailsworth cycle track) and
the frequency increases nearer to the schools, where routes converge. Roundabouts,
particularly at Dudbridge and Cainscross, are a particular concern. One pupil, cycling from
Painswick to Marling, highlighted the point where the Gloucester and Cheltenham roads
diverge/converge on the A46 at Pitchcombe. It was encouraging to learn that there are plans to
redesign this junction – taking into account the needs of both cyclists and pedestrians and
bearing in mind that people from Pitchcombe have to cross the road at this point to catch the 46

There was a wide ranging discussion on factors that influence the safety of cyclists, particularly
at roundabouts, and the importance of both training and of engineering. It was recognised that
although the police have agreed to permit pupils to cycle on the road, this was not the long term
solution if numbers increased significantly. Despite the fact that narrow roads and the steep
hills of the Stroud Valleys militate against easy measures to make the roads more cycling
friendly, it was agreed that efforts should be intensified to make it easier for pupils to cycle to
and from school – for reasons of health, cost and fun – and to respond positively to the pupils‟
concerns. To achieve this, the following was agreed.

     1.     CYCLE SKILLS TRAINING. All Stroud District schools will be encouraged to
            provide both basic and advanced on-road cycle skills training, using the services
            available through GCC and building on the foundations of CHANGING GEAR. Having
            more confidence will help pupils to manage difficult locations. Andre Bovington,
            James Beecher and Rob Reed agreed to get together to see how this could best be

     2.     DISTRICT CYCLING STRATEGY. Work must begin as soon as possible on the
            District Cycling Strategy, recognising that as well as the concerns raised by pupils
            there is an increasing number of local groups agitating for improved cycle routes12

  Groups lobbying for the development of coherent or improved cycling routes include the SVCC
campaigns for a cycle route from Stroud to Chalford and for the upgrading of the Ryeford to
Nailsworth cycle track; the Uley – Dursley – Cam – Cam & Dursley station cycle route; the Stanleys

            and an increasing number of people wanting to use their bicycles instead of their
            cars due to increasing fuel prices13. This will provide a coherent picture of need (for
            commuting and leisure) and of options (on-road, off road cycle tracks, use of the
            canal etc) so that priorities can be identified.

    3.      DOING SOMETHING NOW. Recognising that the District Cycling Strategy will
            take a couple of years to complete and up to ten years to implement, it was agreed
            that GCC and SDC should respond to the concerns of the pupils by taking some
            specific action. As the stretch from the end of the Ebley bypass (by Sainsbury‟s) up
            to and including the Cainscross roundabout is one of most frequented routes it was
            agreed that priority should be given to finding ways of making this more cycle-
            friendly. John Roberts agreed to cycle this section of road, as well as other
            locations identified by the pupils, together with others present at the meeting in
            order to identify practical and cost-effective ways of achieving this. Cainscross
            Parish Council should be invited to participate in this.

    4.      OTHER POSSIBILITIES. It was noted that a number of cycling organisations –
            including CTC and Sustrans/Bike It – have expressed interest in supporting the
            further development of CHANGING GEAR and related activities. Project Stroud
            has applied to the RDPE for funding related to the development of “accessible
            areas” which, if successful, could contribute to making cycling safer.

    5.      WHERE NEXT? CHANGING GEAR is not an organisation, but a brand that is being
            used to promote cycling to and from school within Stroud District and which could
            be extended to commuting. It used the Stroud District Pedestrian and Cycling
            Forum to register with BIKE WEEK and to secure insurance cover and used SVCC to
            handle the cash It was agreed that all those present would keep in touch by email
            and make use of the services and support that each can offer. A further meeting
            will be called only if it will facilitate a significant move forward.

    6.      ACTION:
             Andre Bovington, James Beecher and Rob Reed to meet re training
             All to lobby for work to begin on the Stroud District Cycling Strategy
             Copies of the CHANGING GEAR report and this minute to go to County and
               District Councillors with responsibility for transport, health and regeneration
             John Roberts and others to cycle the Dudbridge section (and other highlighted
             All to take a look at the website www.transitionstroud.org/changinggear and to
                send any comments to James Beecher

(Kings, Leonard, Downton) and Frocester group seeking a safer route from Ryeford to Frocester and
beyond to Cam and Dursley station.
   Local cycle shops report an increased number of people asking to have their bicycles serviced and
made roadworthy


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