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Streets Ahead

Cycle instructors on strike

Season 2, Ep. 3

This time Laura and Adam are Ned-less because there is still a bicycle race happening over in France


All cyclists start somewhere - whether it’s wobbling along with stabilisers, or without. In the UK, because we often end up sharing the roads with motor traffic, many of us will also have received training from a professional at some point - under the Bikeability standard, or Cycling Proficiency as it was once known. 


In recent years cycle instructors have increasingly voiced concerns over pay stagnation and working conditions and this summer London instructors are striking for the first time ever, after what they describe as a 14-year pay freeze. The freeze, they say, amounts to a 50% real-terms pay cut. Each week, on average, one cycling instructor quits - and numbers have halved since the pandemic. Nationwide we need 1000 more instructors to meet government targets to train every child to the Bikeability standard, but recruitment is proving tough.


With the most common reason for not cycling being 'fear of riding with traffic', cycle instructors are a pivotal part of the transition to green transport - we can't build all the safe cycle routes we need immediately, so confidence riding on the roads is key to helping people cycle for more journeys. It's also the kind of green job politicians say we need for the future.


Our two guests are instructors from the Independent Workers union of Great Britain (IWGB): Suami Rocha (Hosha), chair of the Cycling Instructors Branch of the IWGB, and Ben House, its co-secretary. With them Laura and Adam discuss what it's like to do a skilled job where people assume you're a volunteer, the complexities of the cause and what would help stem the tide of cycle instructor loss.


You can read more about the strike here: https://iwgb.org.uk/en/post/cycling-instructors-set-for-first-ever-strike-after-14-year-pay-freeze/


We’re on Twitter and welcome your feedback on our episode: http://www.twitter.com/podstreetsahead


If you're reading this, please can you take 1 minute to give us a rating and write a review? It helps us more than you probably think.


Episode edited by Clare Mansell



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