Smart cycling: Start it at school!

At first glance, you might think that the Bromont National Cycling Centre (BNCC) is only for elite athletes, but think again. The centre also makes basic cycling skills a priority.

The BNCC, located in Bromont, Que., gives adults and children the chance to discover all cycling sports—BMX, mountain biking, cyclocross, road cycling, track cycling, as well as trial and fat bikes—through a wide range of activities offered year-round.

Its cycling education program in schools, offered in collaboration with Vélo Québec, caught the attention of Active for Life. We spoke with Nicolas Legault, general manager of the centre, to better understand the program and how to participate.

“Being confident is a key element in building better cycling skills.”

-Nicolas Legault, Bromont National Cycling Centre

AfL: What are the main features of the program?

NL: Vélo Québec set up the program and we are their partners in the adventure. The course includes a theoretical component, but the most interesting part for the grade 5 and 6 students who participate is the practical section, where instructors come and work “in the field” to help students learn bicycle safety (signals, road signs, positioning on the road).

AfL: How can teachers enroll in the program?

NL: Teachers should check to see if their school is in one of the regions where the program is currently offered. For example, the Bromont National Cycling Centre is an agent for the Montérégie region. Teachers whose schools are in that district and who are willing to spend six hours on theory and six hours on practical instruction can contact the national centre directly.

AfL: Is equipment provided?

NL: Young people are asked to bring their own bikes, but if they do not have them the BNCC can provide one. Teachers just have to register their group and validate it with the National Centre for Equipment Needs.

AfL: Can parents participate?

NL: Parents can participate as companions or volunteers, but the program is specifically for students in grades 5 and 6. Parents are strongly encouraged to include biking in regular family trips and activities.

The cycling centre’s education program helps youth develop safe cycling practices so that they and their parents can be confident in their ability to bike independently. It sets the groundwork for an active and respectful generation on the road, regardless of their means of transportation, by letting them learn to share it from an early age.

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