Getting started

Photo of arrows: Which way now?

If you’re raring to go but unsure where to start, let us signpost you. We work with the local council, British Cycling, volunteers, cycle clubs and groups to make sure there is opportunity to cycle as much as possible. If you’ve got a bike and raring to get out and about, a good starting point is the Let’s Ride website where all the free rides in Swindon are listed. There are loads to choose from – take a look at https://www.letsride.co.uk

Haven’t got a bike?

No problem. Borrow a bike!
We would recommend trying out a bike before you commit to buying one – ask friends, neighbours or work colleagues if they can loan you one, or see whether your workplace has pool bikes that can be borrowed. However, make sure it’s a bike that suits your needs and is the right size for you, otherwise you could have a bad experience.

Buy a bike!
We appreciate that in these times the idea of saving some money and buying a bike from an online retailer or second hand from Gumtree or Ebay sounds like a good idea. However, we would ask you to consider the benefits of buying your bike from a reputable dealer face to face.

A list of bike shops in the Swindon area appears on our contacts page along with details of bike mechanics who can check a bike over if you do buy second hand.

You may also find the leaflet “The right bike for you” helpful. It describes the different sorts of bikes available on the market to help you decide what will suit your needs.

Bike needs mending?


Do it yourself!
Most people can learn to do basic bike repairs; pump up tyres, tighten brakes, mend a puncture. There’s a wealth of information online. You might also find the “basic bike maintenance” leaflet handy.

Get a free check
Look out for events – especially over the summer – where there could be free “Doctor Bike” checks. This is where a bike mechanic will do safety checks on your bike, and be able to advise on any specific issues you have. Sometimes they can repair the bike, depending on the severity of the problem, but may charge for any parts needed. You can find this service at charity bike rides, the repair cafes, Sustainability events (such as Eco Fest) and the Old Town Festival – check out the events calendar at Swindon Travel Choices.

Get a bike shop repair
If the repair is more serious, then it’s probably worth a bike shop doing it for you. Remember – bikes are so much cheaper to repair than cars!
A list of bike shops in the Swindon area appears on our contacts page along with details of mobile bike mechanics who can come to your home to check a bike over if you cannot get it to a shop.

Can’t ride a bike?

If you’ve never learnt to ride a bike, don’t worry – you can learn. And once you’ve learnt, it’s a skill that you never lose.

Training for beginners

For children
Across the UK the most popular form of cycle training today is Bikeability.  This is the Government recommended and funded cycle training scheme. Bikeability training is delivered in most primary schools in Swindon.  Read more about Bikeability in Swindon here.

If you want to start teaching your children to ride sooner, there’s a great online resource from British cycling. See https://readysetride.co.uk/ for details.

For adults

If you’re thinking about dusting off that bike in the garage or buying a new one but are wary that you might not be ready for the road, the good news is that help is close to hand. Cycle training is available privately or through public courses.

Learn to Ride – cycle drop in

Whether you want to learn to ride a bike, gain some confidence away from  the road, or ask an instructor a question, then pop down to the County Ground Athletics track on a Friday morning.  The free Cycle drop in runs between 10am and 12pm.  No need to book, just turn up.

Cycling 4 Health for people with disabilities

The Community Health & Well-Being Team offer inclusive cycling sessions under their Cycling 4 Health programme. They welcome people over 16 years old, and cater for a wide range of abilities and have many adapted cycles to choose from.

  • Mondays 10-11am at the County Ground Athletics Track
  • Thursdays 1-2pm at the County Ground Athletics Track

For more details contact Ros Hughes 01793 464907

Need more confidence?

On road cycle training

Join a free on-road cycling course designed to give you the confidence to ride safely and confidently on local roads. You will learn about road positioning, turning, signalling and observation. It’s useful for anyone, no matter what your competence level is. All courses start from the County Ground Athletics Track and are led by an experienced Bikeability cycling instructor. Dates of future courses will be listed on the events section of the Swindon Travel Choices website.

Don’t know where to ride?

A comprehensive programme of free guided rides runs throughout the year in Swindon. The rides can vary in distance and ability. These include ladies only rides, and also events aimed at mums with children. Take a look at the local rides programme at www.letsride.co.uk

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