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Archive for the ‘Bike Education’ Category

Bike League’s Andy Clarke Visits North Texas

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DFW BFC Meeting

We are very fortunate to have a League of American Bicyclist board member, Gail Spann living in north Texas. Her dedication to cycling and bike education is an inspiration for many bicyclists, advocates and enthusiasts. This past weekend, she and her husband, Jim, hosted a visit from the League’s president, Andy Clarke, who came to talk to us about Bike Education and the Bike Friendly Communities Program in north Texas.

Given that our time with Andy was limited and wanting to keep this visit focused, we set up two meetings with just a few key instructors, advocates, industry leaders and city officials.

Bike Education:
The first meeting – which was held Sunday evening at Gail’s house – was about the current education program, were several local LCIs (League Cycling Instructors) met with Andy for dinner and a ’round table’ discussion. We discussed ways to make the program better and how to reach a larger audience. Quite a few good ideas were discussed and many of us left the meeting inspired and ready to move the program forward.

LCI Meeting

LCI Meeting

Bike Friendly Communities:
The second meeting – held on Monday evening at the Plano Parks and Recreation office – was about north Texas and the the Bike Friendly Communities Program. Attending, were representatives of BikeTexas, BikeDFW, Bike Friendly RichardsonBike Friendly Oak Cliff and Plano Bicycle Association, city officials from Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano and Richardson, and industry leaders from Richardson Bike Mart and Plano Cycling and Fitness.

At this meeting, city officials were able to openly discuss the efforts that have been made towards bicycling infrastructure, issues and concerns with the Bike Friendly Communities Program and ways to get clear benchmarks moving forward. It was evident that many of the city officials weren’t expecting a ranking based on the current program, but wanted to see some sort of recognition for the expenses and efforts made so far. They felt that having this would help motivate and inspire city management and council to continue investing in bicycling education and infrastructure.

Given the limited amount of time, we were able to have a good conversation with Andy Clarke, and he was able to assure us that the League of American Bicyclists was listening and willing to help us achieve our goals of becoming bike friendly communities. It was nice to be able to have this direct link to the League to make it clear that cycling is growing in north Texas and we are a strong community of bicycle riders.

DFW BFC Meeting

DFW BFC Meeting

DFW BFC Meeting

DFW BFC Meeting

Recap – Traffic Skills 101 Class In Allen, Texas

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Last weekend I got to help teach another Traffic Skill 101 class, at the Allen Community Outreach center, in Allen, Texas. It was a good group of about a dozen students, mixed in experience and skill levels. We also had some graduates of the course, visit and observe, in preparation to taking their own LCI class next month.

I hope to see more of these classes open up this year and get more cyclists on the right track to becoming better and safer riders. It’s also great that students are striving to become instructors. Below, are some pics from the class. You can also find the entire set here.

LAB - Traffic Skills 101 - Allen, Texas 2014

Warren Providing Some Instructions

LAB - Traffic Skills 101 - Allen, Texas 20144850_sm

Quick Stop Drill

LAB - Traffic Skills 101 - Allen, Texas 2014

More Quick Stop

LAB - Traffic Skills 101 - Allen, Texas 2014

Rock Dodge Drill

IMG_4883LAB - Traffic Skills 101 - Allen, Texas 2014_sm

Betsy Give Instructions

LAB - Traffic Skills 101 - Allen, Texas 2014

Road Course. We got To do one-on-one instruction.

LAB - Traffic Skills 101 - Allen, Texas 2014

Lunch

LAB - Traffic Skills 101 - Allen, Texas 2014

Lunch

LAB - Traffic Skills 101 - Allen, Texas 2014

Lunch

LAB - Traffic Skills 101 - Allen, Texas 2014

Heading Back. Watching Our Door Zones.

Written by dickdavid

January 22, 2014 at 7:07 am

North Texas Traffic Skills 101 Cycling Courses – November and December 2013

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Scanning Drills

I’m a League Cycling Instructor with BikeDFW, and we are offering two chances to take the Traffic Skills 101 class in north Texas. They’re filling up fast, and you don’t want to miss out.

Traffic Skills 101 (TS101) gives cyclists the confidence they need to ride safely and legally in traffic or on the trail. Through TS101, students learn how to conduct bicycle safety checks, fix a flat, on-bike skills and crash avoidance techniques. We recommended this class for adults and children above age fourteen.

When: Sunday, Nov 24 (that’s this weekend!!)
Time: 7:50am – 3:00pm
Where: Allen Community Outreach
801 E. Main Street, Allen, TX 75002
Cost: Cost:
$ 20.00 for BikeDFW members
$ 50.00 for others. (If you pay the $ 50.00, you will get a free one (1) year membership in BikeDFW)
Information and registration:
 CLICK HERE

OR

When: Sunday, Dec 8
Time: 7:50am – 3:00pm
Where: Allen Community Outreach
801 E. Main Street, Allen, TX 75002
Cost: Cost:
$ 20.00 for BikeDFW members
$ 50.00 for others. (If you pay the $ 50.00, you will get a free one (1) year membership in BikeDFW)
I
nformation and registration:
 CLICK HERE

What to bring:
– Tuition
– Bike in good working condition
– Helmet
– Lunch money

PLEASE NOTE:
The classroom portion is done online at www.bikeed.org prior to the actual class and you should expect to spend 1.5 – 2 hours doing this. When you register PLEASE use the DALLAS area as your location in the pull down menu.

Written by dickdavid

November 19, 2013 at 8:17 pm

Pics and Recap From Last Weekend’s Bike Rodeo In Allen, TX

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Bike And Helmet Giveaway

Last Saturday, August 24, a group of BikeDFW board members and volunteers helped out the City of Allen with the Back to School Bash, at First United Methodist Church. The event offered lower income families in Allen a chance to get physicals, schools supplies, haircuts, participate in a Bike Rodeo and more, all at no cost.

Ready To Do The Course

With some help from the Allen Turning Boys 2 Men Leadership Group, we set up a Bicycling Skills 123 Youth, Bike Rodeo in the parking lot to teach some basic handling and safety skills. Many of the kids weren’t able to show up on their bicycles, so we ended up having many of them run or walk the course. They were still able to learn the fundamentals of bike safety and practice their hand signals.

Running The Course

Also, McKinney Velo Club partnered with Texas Medical Association and purchased bicycle helmets for us to give away to any kids that needed them. I’m happy to say that we gave away over 120 helmets.  Overall, it was a good day for bicycle safety in Allen, Texas. We hope to bring more of these event throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Fitted For Helmets

I’ve Learned How To Teach Adults How To Ride A Bicycle

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BS123_July2013_02

Image © Gail Copus Spann

One of the main reasons that I became a League Cycling Instructor was to teach people how to ride bikes and how to do it safely. Although the League’s Traffic Skills 101 has been a staple course that’s taught in my area, my hope is to get better trained at Bicycling Skills 123 and Bicycling Skills 123 Youth and teach kids how to ride safer. If you teach them young, perhaps they’ll carry those skills with them into adulthood.

Something that I never considered was teaching adults how to ride. Being connected to our local advocacy group, BikeDFW and a network of local LCIs, we discovered that there was enough interest in this course, that we decided to offer it.

Many of our available instructors (including myself) were not fully trained in teaching this course, so we reached out to Gail Copus Spann, who is not only an LCI, but also trains them. Gail was able to take time away from her busy schedule as Chair of the Board of Directors for the League of American Bicyclists, to help teach both students and instructors. The students learned how to ride while the instructors picked up some great techniques on how to teach this course.

We decided to have the course at Bob Woodruff Park, in Plano, where there was plenty of open space that included a nice, grassy hill. The class was scheduled to run just a couple of hours, because any longer, students start to get burned out and too tired to focus. That was plenty of time to get the students acquainted with the basic fundamentals of the course and allow them to continue at their own pace, if needed.

Bicycling Skills 123 - Teaching Adults To Ride

The first thing we noticed in offering this course, is that most of the students did not have their own bicycles. This made sense, since they haven’t ridden before. We were able to pull together a few loaners, which we plan to offer for future courses. Once we got all of the bikes set up and fitted for each student, we were able to start taking them through the steps.

Bicycling Skills 123 - Teaching Adults To Ride

The pace of the course was slow by design. The goal was to steadily teach each student how to control the bike and not let the bike control them. Gail guided the students down the low-sloping, grassy hill dozens of times to help them gain their confidence and increase their skill level. With every run, our team of instructors would watch and evaluate the student’s progress – providing positive feedback. We were amazed at the level of progression that was made by each student throughout the course.

Bicycling Skills 123 - Teaching Adults To Ride

BS123_July2013_03

Bicycling Skills 123 - Teaching Adults To Ride

By the end of the class, all of the students were able to ride their bikes. The smiles on their faces reminded us of how wonderful it is to start somebody down the amazing path of bicycling. I enjoyed working with Gail and the other instructors, Warren, Mike and Bob. I hope to get more opportunities to assist people with courses like this.

Bicycling Skills 123 - Teaching Adults To Ride

Welcome To Bike Month 2013

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NBM_Facebook_header2

As I say every year, EVERY month is National Bike Month – we all know that. However, it’s nice that national organizations like The League of American Bicyclists (who originated National Bike Month) and People For Bikes, are focusing their efforts on May – one of the best months to bicycle – just so that they can get some good traction and be more effective with their messaging.

TheLEAGUE-BikeMonth

Speaking of messaging, they’ve even come up with some helpful things (pdf) that advocates can post on Facebook and Twitter. Here are a few:

• Where will the ride take you? Join us this Bike Month to find out! [link]*
• Bike Month is here! What’s your favorite way to celebrate cycling?
• What are your favorite places to ride in [your community]?
• Do something different this Bike Month. Download the League’s BIke Month Bingo card and join the fun! bikeleague.org/bikemonth
• Are you grabbing your morning coffee on two wheels this morning? What’s the best thing about Bike to Work Day this year?
• Hopping on your bike instead of the bus to school this morning? Let us know how your celebration of Bike to School Day is going!
• Honor the past and empower the future of women in cycling! Join the Cyclo- femme movement and spread the word!
• More than 80% of bike commuters say they feel healthier & less stressed. How has biking improved your health?
• Average annual operating cost of a bicycle? $308. A car? $8,000. How do you spend the extra cash?

You can download League of American Bicyclists promotional materials here.

Even People For Bikes is doing a great push for National Bike Month. Their Roll Together  - with two wheels or four wheels, let’s build the next generation of safer roads where we can all roll together  - campaign is pretty impressive.

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Well, I hope you get to take part in National Bike Month, and that you get a chance to enjoy a good ride or two (or 31).

I Got To Help Host A Youth Skills 123 Clinic At The Allen Family Bike Day

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More Instruction

Last weekend, I worked with BikeDFW and proudly participated at the Allen Family Bike Day – helping with a Youth Skills 123 course at the event. Headed by League Cycling Instructor Dorothy Zarbo, I was part of a team of LCIs which also included fellow LCI training graduates, Betsy Veneziano and Francis Schommer. We worked with local elementary and middle school students to run a successful Bike Rodeo for Allen kids.

Dorothy

We had a great time working with the kids, who in turn, helped others learn some basic safety skills. Kids learned how to signal their stops, left & right turns as well as how to yield in traffic. Since helmets were required on the course, some were loaned out by the City of Allen to those who forgot theirs. I’m hoping parents were inspired to remind their kids to continue wearing theirs.

Helmet Borrowing Station

I love doing these types of events, and I hope to do more across the DFW Metroplex.

Volunteer Instruction

Written by dickdavid

April 25, 2013 at 6:30 am

Recap – Traffic Skills 101 Class In Garland

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Arrival

Last Saturday was a pretty big day for me. I got to help teach a Traffic Skills 101 class for the first time. Co-instructing with me, was fellow League of American Bicyclists LCI graduate, Jenny. As recent graduates, we both have to co-instruct two classes before we can teach on our own. We were there to assist head instructor-extrodinare Mike and veteran instructor Brad, with 11 students in Garland.

Preparation:
As part of our instructor training, Jenny and I had to scope out locations for our parking lot drills, as well as map out the road course. We took a field trip to the area and decided that a local DART parking lot would work best for the parking lot drills. While out there, we decided to drive the road course that Jenny had plotted using Google maps – addressing any potential issues and altering the course as needed. We wanted to get a wide selection of roads to give us the opportunity to teach the students about a variety of road conditions. Also, since the road course was new to both of us, we returned to ride it the weekend before the class – just to make sure.

Registration:
On the day of the class, Jenny and I carpooled. With bikes balanced on the bike rack, we rolled into the parking lot of local bike shop, Don Johle’s Bike World. My car was full of gear, forms, certificates and – most important – breakfast. The students were already gathering in front of the shop, ready to learn. So, after getting everybody introduced, registered, fed and ABC Quick Checked, we all rode to the DART parking lot to start the parking lot drills.

Parking Lot Drills:
Since Jenny and I were co-teaching our first class, Mike let us take the lead on giving instructions. Jenny and I tag-teamed this task, each helping the other fill in the gaps of information that the other might have missed. Once each drill was discussed and demonstrated, the group would split into two for practice runs. I worked with Mike and Jenny worked with Brad – who happened to be one of our TS101 instructors, when we took the class.

This group of students did an amazing job with the parking lot drills, which made the instructor’s job easy.
Avoidance Weave

Road Course:
After lunch at Taco Cabana, it was time to do the road portion of the course. This can be taught a few different ways, as long as you are exposing your students to a variety of road conditions that they will encounter when they are riding on their own. We opted to ride as one group, while giving the students a few small exercises of riding solo. This gave them the opportunity to individually read, process and execute their routes using the information learned with the online course, as well as what we taught them with the parking lot drills.

Again, this group of students were outstanding and did an exceptional job at completing this portion of the class.
Individual Road Drills

When finished with the road course, the group returned to the bike shop, where the instructors were able to evaluate each student. Each scored very well and earned their Traffic Skills 101 Certificate.

Both Jenny and I appreciated the chance to co-instruct with great teachers, as well as this group of fantastic students. We couldn’t have ask for a better class to be our first. We hope that as we teach more of these classes, we get more refined and are better prepared to confidently teach on our own.

Written by dickdavid

February 5, 2013 at 7:06 am

So, Now I Get To Help Teach Cycling

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Students

As part of my efforts to make my community a safer place for cycling, I decided to become a League Cycling Instructor, last year. Now that I’ve completed the course, I must co-teach, at least twice, before I can teach my own classes. This weekend will be my first opportunity to do that.

I will be assisting in the Traffic Skills 101 class in my neighboring city, Garland.

Quite frankly, although I’ll be working with an amazing team, I’m slightly nervous about this — a little because this is my first time, a little because I fear that I might forget something, a little because I might mess up a parking lot drill, and a lot because I want to make sure our students leave with more knowledge, skills and confidence to be safer on the road.

Hopefully, as I teach more, I will become more confident in doing this. Hopefully, we can inspire more students to become teachers, and help cycling become safer for everybody.

Written by dickdavid

January 29, 2013 at 6:25 am

Another Bike Lock Fail

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Back Wheel Lock

I saw this bike the other day and noticed it wasn’t locked up very well. Take a closer look and you’ll see that only the back wheel is cable locked to the gas meter.

Sure, it’s probably not the best bike in the world, but nobody wants to lose their bike to a jerk bike thief.

This person should watch this video to get an idea of how to do it right.

Written by dickdavid

December 4, 2012 at 8:28 am

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