Nikki rides into top women in cycling list
One of Outspoken Training’s cycle instructors and local community cycling champion, Nikki Searle, has made it into Cycling UK’s Top 100 Women in Cycling 2020.
Nikki’s shift began after her child’s safer cycling training was cancelled and she stepped up to volunteer. Twenty one years later and she is still training adults and children as a Bikeability instructor, and is also a peer mentor to other instructors and is part of a group of parents campaigning to create healthier streets.
“I started daily cycling as a student in my teens,” she said. “For the next four decades I have cycled whenever possible: to get to work, to shop, for errands, as my daily outdoor exercise and on holiday. I like being outside. I like cycling. It’s fun.
“In 1999 I discovered my first child would not receive Cambridgeshire’s usual on-road safer cycling instruction at her junior school as the retired police officer who organised the training had fallen ill. I found myself rallying 13 like-minded parents to join me as volunteer cycling instructors, training 90 pupils each summer. This training scheme aimed to give children skills to make independent decisions so they could cycle to secondary school.
“After five years of voluntarily teaching primary school kids the county’s road safety team approached me to be trained as a part-time adult cycling trainer.
“I loved it. I found I could teach adult first-timers, rusty riders, cyclists lacking confidence in commuter traffic, helping cyclists to find their optimum routes, children with special needs and parents wanting to know how best to ride and shepherd their families.
“I was presented with a whole raft of challenges both in Cambridge city centre and surrounding villages. It was a rewarding experience as so many clients felt liberated and contacted me for further sessions.
“As the 2008 financial crash caused my redundancy as a council trainer, I realised I wanted to continue instructing so I sought employment with the local independent provider, Outspoken Training.
“They helped me brush up my Bikeability qualifications and stretched me further.
“Consequently, for the last nine years I have delivered level 1-3 in schools; for one-to-one clients, both children and adults; for HGV and van drivers on safe urban driver courses where participants experience cycling in the city, and for corporate firms.
“Cycling is a way of life for me. I hope I have helped others to discover its great benefits.”
Nikki was nominated for the 100 Women in Cycling by Kieron McNab, who said: “Nikki is a positive role model. Her wealth of knowledge, enthusiasm and energy has led to her teaching children to ride for the first time as well as boosting children’s knowledge and understanding enabling them to make more journeys on-road by bicycle.
“Nikki embodies everything you would wish for from a resident in your community. She is positive about life and the impact cycling can have.”
The recognition follows on another recognition for the Outspoken team - in June Anna Hay was recognised for her work inspiring more children to cycle by winning the Cycle Instructor of the Year title at the National Bikeability Awards 2020.
Outspoken Training’s managing director Kieron McNab said: “For 21 years, she has worked tirelessly to enthuse thousands of children to cycle around Cambridge by equipping them with the skills and confidence to ride more often.
“Nikki’s reputation as a high-quality, inspirational and knowledgeable cycle instructor who regularly goes above and beyond to help others cycle, led to her being selected to demonstrate Bikeability training to a group of cycle training providers across Europe who came to the UK as part of the Erasmus Cycle Training Project this year.
“I can’t think of a more inspirational, everyday cyclist and Nikki is most certainly a hero of the community.”
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More by this authorMike Scialom
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