Published: 06th Feb 2024 Images: Scottish Cycling

Developing Mini-Riders

The past 12 months have been hugely exciting in the world of Scottish Cycling, and behind the scenes we have been working on another exciting project. With the invaluable support of several key partners, our youth cycling development program, Mini Riders, has gained considerable momentum.

Upon completion of the resource, developed by Gary McKeegan and Supporting Sport Services, and our marketing recourses, developed by Brand Oath, we wanted to roll out a pilot programme to determine the resource’s efficacy and identify potential areas for refinement. These pilot programmes took place with various organisations between the months of September and December.

In order to gather as wide-ranging feedback as possible, we targeted a number of diverse organisations including Scottish Cycling affiliated clubs, local authority Sport Development teams and Active Schools. The implementation format and session delivery methods varied across locations, encompassing weekly club sessions, condensed daily sessions during holidays, weekly sessions integrated into local authority income-generating programs, free community outreach sessions, and sessions conducted during class time or after-school clubs.

Every individual involved with delivery of the sessions received an online onboarding session, delivered by Gary McKeegan and regular check ins were held. Upon completion of the sessions, we asked all groups to provide data and feedback. The feedback was vital to the next steps in developing the programme. Continuous attention to this feedback remains a pivotal aspect of our commitment to maintaining the program’s standard at the highest level of relevance and quality.

The feedback received was overwhelmingly positive, with a notable highlight being the evident enjoyment experienced by our target audience during the sessions. Equally gratifying was the observation of numerous instances of effective local-level partnership work, predominantly involving clubs and local authorities.

Speaking on the impact the programme has had, even at pilot stage, Mark Pain, Community Sport Manager at Sport Aberdeen commented:

“It has been very rewarding to deliver the Mini Riders sessions on behalf of Scottish Cycling to young Ukranian children living in Aberdeen. The children had a lot of fun, and we are grateful to the volunteers who have given up their time to help at the session.”

Molly Evans of Deeside Thistle was one of those aforementioned volunteers, and she added:

“I enjoyed being part of the programme because I love riding my bike, and spreading that enjoyiment to others is excellent. I think the children really enjoyed getting the opportunity to learn how to ride safely, whilst having fun too! I love cycling because not only is it a sport, but also a key life skill and mode of transport – there are so many uses.”

Overall, the pilot programme saw 16 individuals receive onboarding training, seven different programme blocks delivered and over 800 session attendances. Keeping the momentum going, we’re delighted to announce that a number of the pilot programme partners have signed up for another year, alongside a number of new partners as well.

We eagerly anticipate the continued progress and development of Mini Riders over the next year, and we welcome discussions with anyone interested in enhancing their cycling offerings through our program.