A survey of 585 parents carried out over the Easter weekend on behalf of GlaxoSmithKline's GSK Nutritional Healthcare found that nearly nine in 10 parents would like cycling put on the National Curriculum.
GlaxoSmithKline is the maker of Horlicks, Ribena, and Lucozade. In April last year, Peter Keen moved from being performance director of the British Cycling's GB cycling team to becoming the performance director of the Lucozade Sport Science Academy.
GSK Nutritional Healthcare said it wants to halt the decline in the numbers of young people cycling, and make the activity appealing to a generation more accustomed to playing computer games than going for bike rides. Along with British Cycling, it is campaigning for cycling to be regarded as an essential life skill in the same way swimming is.
Too often young people are turned off by competitive school sport. Cycling has universal appeal and can be the antidote to the computer game. But lack of proper training is a major stumbling block to participation.
Young people urgently need more opportunities to develop their cycling skills in a safe and fun environment. Thats why GSK will get thousands of young people on their bikes this year. Parents believe cycling has a place on the curriculum. Perhaps now is the time to ask whether cycling should have a place on the school timetable. After all, how many children swim to school in the morning?
The sponsorship from GSK will turn the Go-Ride scheme from a regional resource into a nationwide skills network. The Go-Ride programme uses qualified coaches to give children aged six to 18 essential cycling skills, and encourages all participants to continue cycling, both as a recreational pursuit and as a competitive sport.
Go-Ride will be rolled out in 200 primary schools over the next two years. A total of 30,000 secondary school pupils will also get one day visits from British Cycling to take part in Go-Ride. In addition, 100 new Go-Ride community clubs will be created to establish permanent links with secondary and primary schools.