Watching my daughter, Sylvia, four, learn how to cycle unassisted has been one of the highlights of being a parent, writes Matt Reid.

I’ve been going out with her once a day to explore the neighbourhood and it has given me an insight into the cycling experience of new Bicester bike riders:

l It’s flat. I have no concerns about Sylvia going out of control down hills, or struggling to get up hills.

l Roads are assumed to be dangerous. Sylvia instinctively makes a bee-line for pavements and paths, even when there are no cars around.

l Clear crossing points are essential. Sylvia checks both sides of the road before crossing.

l The reduced noise levels from traffic have made cycling more attractive than it was previously.

l Sylvia understands social distancing and pulls over if there are people walking, or cycling, from the opposite direction.

l The cycle paths around Langford are good. Some continuous footways and other traffic calming measures would be helpful to join them up.

l Pavement parking in Langford phase 2 is endemic. The width of the pavement is halved in many places.

l London Road is hazardous. Narrow footpaths and inconvenient crossing points mean that I won’t be trying this again in a hurry.

l I am concerned about the speeds of cars around residential streets. The limit is 30mph, but many people exceed this.

I think the challenge after lockdown will be maintaining Sylvia’s enthusiasm, because it will be more dangerous and noisy when the volume of cars returns to previous levels. However, if she is anything like her dad, she will be on two wheels for many years to come.

Since moving to the Elmsbrook Eco Community in August 2019, writes Jenny Ward, I stopped cycling and lost my confidence.

Living in an ‘eco’ community, this is especially hard to admit. However, my normal commute to work is about 110 miles, and busy family life felt like there was never enough time, or energy, to get on my bike for errands, exercise, or pleasure. For some reason, it seemed like a big deal to get back on my bike again – wobbling (in more ways than one) – and looking like a bit of a plonker!

Thankfully, I gave in to my teenage daughters’ begging and their persistence has got me back out on daily rides with them and our working Cocker Spaniel. This has brought me so much joy during lockdown: we have been enjoying the sunshine, our time together, getting exercise and having some much needed giggles (normally at my expense).

This re-discovered joy of cycling did hit a bump in the road when a very wobbly front wheel, a slow puncture and some dodgy gears saw me housebound for a number of days. Luckily, George, the Chair of Bicester Bike Users Group, offered to help anyone that had started to use their bike again.

Dutifully following social distancing rules, I took George up on his offer and he gave it a complete service – what a hero!

A little silver lining in challenging times: my confidence is starting to return (slowly!) and I have met another fabulous neighbour willing to give his time to help keep me cycling.