Matt's story
26th July 2020

Matt's story

Teaching my 4 yr old daughter to ride a bike under lockdown

Watching Sylvia - my four-year-old daughter - learning to cycle unassisted has been one of the highlights of being a parent. I now go out with her once a day to explore the neighbourhood, and as a result it has given me a new perspective on cycling for the inexperienced in Bicester: 


  • it's flat. I have no concerns about Sylvia going out of control down hills, or struggling to get up hills 
  • roads are assumed to be dangerous. Sylvia instinctively makes a bee-line for pavements and paths, even when there are no cars around. 
  • clear crossing points are essential. Sylvia checks both sides of the road before crossing. 
  • the reduced noise levels from traffic have made cycling more attractive than it was previously. 
  • Sylvia understands social distancing, and pulls over if there are people walking or cycling from the opposite direction. 
  • the cycle paths around Langford are good. Some continuous footways and other traffic calming measures would be helpful to join them up. 
  • pavement parking in Langford phase 2 is endemic. In many stretches the width of the pavement is halved - including sections of the Healthy Bicester running route (‘the blue line’). 
  • London Road is hazardous. Narrow footpaths and inconvenient crossing points mean that I won't be trying this again in a hurry. 
  • I am concerned about the speeds of cars around residential streets - it's supposed to be 30 mph but many people exceed this.  I think the challenge after the lockdown will be to maintain Sylvia's enthusiasm, because it will be more dangerous and noisy when the volume of cars returns to previous levels. However, if she is anything like her dad she will be on two wheels for many years to come.