In the 1960s before families had two cars most of us went to school on our bikes. This was a much better arrangement than today when every school morning and evening the roads are clogged up with cars taking lazy kids to school.
Everyone had a bike and every school had a row of bike sheds and with so many on the road the Government was concerned about highway safety and in 1967 along with a load of other boys I took my Cycling Proficiency Test.
Cyclist training began in 1947, although its roots stretched back to the 1930s when cycling organisations were pressing the Government to include cyclist instruction in the school curriculum and finally in 1958 the Government funded the introduction of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) National Cycling Proficiency Scheme and cycling instructors came to the school to prepare us for the test.
RoSPA by the way was also responsible for the Tufty Club and the Green Cross Code and were completely detached from reality because we had all been out on the open road for years on our bikes and had already perfected some of the finer points of cycling, such as riding backwards or with no hands for example.
Most of the ‘training’ took place in the safety of the school playground where we had to demonstrate our biking skills by cycling between bollards, learning the Highway Code and how to maintain our machines in good mechanical order. Once we had done all of this to the satisfaction of the instructor there was a final road test under the watchful eye of the examiner.
I don’t think anybody ever failed the Cycling Proficiency Test and at the end there was a certificate and an aluminium badge to attach to the handlebars so that everyone knew just how safe we were. I was awarded my certificate and badge on 19th May 1967.