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Gaining street wisdom on the skills of two wheels

BIKE TO BASICS. Age group: 9-13Video (24 mins), Pounds 10.99 from high street outlets or Pounds 11.99 from York City Council Road Safety Officer, 9 St Leonard's Place, York YO1 2ET.

This video is an absolute must and is heartily recommended. It does much to take the fear factor out of cycling and it shows parents what ought to happen after their children have completed a cycling proficiency course.

Young riders, often accompanied by mum and dad, are shown out on busy streets but coping safely and confidently with parked cars and busy junctions. There are smiles on their faces and the message is clear cycling is highly enjoyable and gives a blessed feeling of freedom. Fear of traffic is replaced by a healthy awareness of the possible dangers and of the importance of careful preparation.

Bike to Basics was filmed in York, surely the UK's most cycle-friendly city, with the ever-excellent Tony Robinson acting as an enthusiastic and touchingly curious presenter. He looks at basic maintenance and some essential accessories and goes out on the road on his own bike to try turning right and to try dealing with hazards. His commentary is direct and positive and the situations we see on the video are as realistic as anyone could possibly make them. It is both heartening and refreshing to see a group of eager York school children taking their basic cycling instruction out on a street instead of in their school playground.

Bike to Basics is supposedly intended for parents but should be required viewing for any youngster with ambitions to cycle. It is an absolute must for road safety officers and youth leaders and every school should certainly have one.

The child who rides his bike to school or down a country lane is a comparative rarity. Learning to cycle and then going out on your bike should be a part of everyone's childhood.

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