Free cycle training is being provided as part of a scheme aimed at getting more people in the saddle.

Barking and Dagenham Council has teamed up with Vandome Cycles, Sustrans and Be First to offer a range of options for children and adults.

Whether a person is new to cycling or wants to brush up on their skills, the training costs nothing and is available to anyone who lives, works or studies in the borough.

This comes as council is currently developing a walking and cycling strategy. Cllr Andrew Achilleos, member champion for climate change, is looking to encourage residents to make shorter journeys on foot or by bike.

Cllr Achilleos said: "We know travelling from one side of the borough to another, or from somewhere like Marks Gate to Dagenham East, is difficult without a car.

"However, research shows that a high percentage of people are still driving five minutes up the road for a pint of milk.

"That’s why we are trying to make it more appealing and easier for residents to walk or cycle short distances by improving existing cycle networks, creating new ones and changing the character of our streets."

He added that the strategy is about creating routes that work for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to better connect neighbourhoods with growing populations as well as existing communities.

Active travel has been hailed for a number of benefits, including reducing pollution and helping people keep fit.

Cllr Achilleos himself could not ride a bike; on Thursday, July 15 he met up with cycle instructors from Vandome Cycles for training.

He said: "I like to practice what I preach and if I can pick up cycling at 34, anyone can do it.

"When I got on the bike it was a case of finding the confidence in myself to stay upright, once I had that, it was a fun experience.

"Richard from Vandome Cycles was a great instructor and I would encourage residents of all ages to book in on a training course during the summer."

Sessions are held from 4pm to 8pm on Wednesdays and 4.30pm to 6.30pm on Fridays at Jim Peters Stadium, Mayesbrook Park.

You can receive one-to-one training from a qualified instructor in basic, urban and advanced cycle skills.

Contact Vandome Cycles at or call 020 8220 3075.