Kids as young as three years old are learning to cycle, as a nationwide initiative is rolled out to every local authority nursery in Dundee.
All of the city council’s nursery schools are actively taking part in Play on Pedals – a programme designed by Cycling Scotland.
Pre-school children are taught to ride a bike, how to secure a helmet and how to maintain their bike as part of the programme.
Dad Mark McGuggon, 36, couldn’t believe his eyes when his son, also called Mark, cycled a pedal bike without stabilisers at just three years old.
Mark, of Scott Street, said: “I was shocked. He had never been on a pedal bike before.
“He had a balance bike, which he was practising on at home and at nursery, but he got the hang of pedal cycling really quickly.”
The proud dad said he thinks the support his son got at Balgay Hill Nursery, on Glenagnes Road, helped boost his fast progress.
He added: “Obviously he’s getting fitness from cycling but he also gets a lot of confidence.
“He realises he’s achieved something and is so proud.
“He shows me things like riding with one hand and says ‘look what I can do, Dad’.”
Caroline Fenwick, head teacher at Balgay Hill Nursery, said all the children have been excelling in cycling since the programme was introduced. She said: “The bikes are out every day and they’re always really popular. The kids love them.
“It gives them a sense of freedom and independence because they are learning how to maintain the bikes themselves. One of them asked me to raise the saddle for them as it was too low. It also teaches them about safety and risk assessment because they learn about the possible things that may happen and the importance of wearing helmets.
“They are extremely vigilant with the helmets. They tell each other to get a helmet on.”
She added: “Some of the nursery’s children come from families who live in tenements with no access to outside space, so access to bikes here at the nursery is crucial for them.”
This is the third year that Play on Pedals has run in Dundee nurseries, having been rolled out in stages.
Now with 100% of city facilities on board, each of the nurseries has been given a number of pedal bikes, balance bikes and helmets through grants from Cycling Scotland and Dundee City Council. As part of the programme, little ones are taught technical aspects of cycling though games and fun activities, integrated with the Curriculum for Excellence.
Wendy Knight, early years development officer at Dundee City Council, said: “The first two years we concentrated on getting all of the services signed up to Play on Pedals.
“This year we are focusing on getting the parents involved as well to encourage family time together, cycling outdoors.
“Balgay Hill Nursery has really got behind this idea and started loaning out their bikes to families at the weekend and we are looking at the possibility of having bikes available for the parents to borrow.”
She added that nearly 60% of pre-school children can now ride a bike, thanks to the success of the programme.