Archive for the ‘Bike Education’ Category
Because my city, Richardson, is such a Bike Friendly Community, I thought it would be great to hold a couple of Traffic Skills 101 classes this fall.
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. The curriculum is fast-paced, and prepares cyclists for a full understanding of cycling on Richardson streets.
Traffic Skills 101 Curriculum
Part I: The Basics
• The Bicycle
• Maintenance Basics
• Clothing and Equipment
• Bicycle Handling
Part II: Bicycling in Traffic
• Your Role in Traffic
• Avoiding Crashes
• Hazard Avoidance Maneuvers
Part III: Enjoying the Ride
• Riding Enjoyment
• Ride Etiquette
• Helping Motorists Share the Road
Required to participate in this class:
– Bicycle in good working condition
– Helmet that fits
– Completion of online portion of course – info provided upon registration
– Cash for lunch
There will be 2 classes available:
Date: Saturday, September 12, 2015
Time: 9:00a.m. – 3:30p.m.
Location: Huffhines Recreation Center – 200 N. Plano Rd., Richardson, TX 75081
Date: Saturday, October 17, 2015
Time: 9:00a.m. – 3:30p.m.
Location: Heights Recreation Center – 711 W Arapaho Rd., Richardson, TX 75080
All tuition will be used to cover class expenses. Any remaining funds will be rolled back into the BFR education program.
Go here to register. Sorry. There is no deep link to this class. You’ll need to click on the “Adult” category in the side menu.
No, I’m not talking about the class of cyclist who, for whatever the reason, HAS to ride their bikes, instead of choosing to ride bikes—those who I feel are usually under-represented by mainstream advocacy efforts. That’s a topic for another post.
Right now, I’m referencing the guy in the picture. I noticed him heading down a pretty major arterial road, while I was taking one of my early morning walks. I know it’s a bad shot, but can you tell what he might be doing poorly? He’s got lights. He’s wearing a helmet. Do you think he is riding safely?
Quite frankly, what he’s doing isn’t enough. As an League Cycling Instructor, I try to lead by example and strive to be the most visible that I can be on the road – at any time of the day. I wish others would do the same.
Let’s start with his lighting. He has head and tail lights, but they were less than substantial and other road users could barely see them. This cyclist seems to have a false sense of security, thinking his rear light is enough. I prefer lights that are much brighter – and in multiples if possible. Along with having good lights, I like to have retroreflective elements. Although retroreflective gear is only as good as their placement, and the lighting that shines on it, every little bit adds up to supplement even the worse tail lights. I have reflective material on my helmet, my ankles, my backpack and on my bike.
Let’s talk about his clothing. It’s been stated that high-vis colors aren’t as effective at night. I’ve noticed that the best time to use those colors is during the early morning or dusk hours. They are also good during inclement weather, when the color spectrum of your environment becomes a dull range of gray. High-vis clothing wouldn’t have helped him too much at this moment, but it also wouldn’t hurt.
Finally, let’s talk about his lane position. In my town, a cyclist has the right to take the full lane, as long as it’s less than 15 feet wide. I know there is a school-of-thought out there, where cyclist feel safer being closer to the curb. They feel it puts them in a better defensive position to get out of the way if danger comes from behind. The problem with taking this position, is that it forces the need to ride defensively. Riding next to the curb reduces the ability for other road users – coming from any direction – to see you from further away. Being a defensive rider, who is mindful of your surrounding is good. However, adding a better, more visible, posture on the road helps give other road users more time to react, which reduces the need for defense.
I also noticed several cars passing this guy in his lane. Being so close to the curb was an invitation for cars to share the lane while they overtook him. Taking the lane reduces this, forcing cars to leave your lane when passing.
As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite class to teach is helping adults learn to ride. It is by far the most rewarding for me.
One thing that I’ve learned, teaching this class, is that people are different, so some pick it up faster than others. There are times when students need to return for another class to continue their training. This weekend’s class, however, did really well and all were riding to some degree. All were able to leave the class knowing enough of the fundamental skills, so that they can continue their training at home.
I also discovered that switching up coaches during the class, allows the students to get a fresh perspective on their progress.
My hope is that, the more I teach this class, the more I will be able to anticipate and address each student’s individual needs.
Last weekend, BikeDFW was asked to help out a local Boy Scout troop earn their merit badge in cycling, so we held a Bicycling Skills 123 clinic in Allen, Texas. Not only did we have the opportunity to teach some great kids, but also their parents. We wanted to leave this group with some good bicycle knowledge, so that the whole family can work together to ride safely. I feel that if the parents are safe riders, the kids will pick that up from them.
It was great to see the progress these kids have made, especially since many of them couldn’t even ride a few weeks ago. They were part of our successful learn to ride program.
It was also great to have three new League Cycling Instructors to help teach the class. Two of them came from Fort Worth, which is quite a distance from Allen.
Here are a few pics from the class.
When I started back up with cycling, several years back, one of my goals was to become certified as a bike instructor – mostly to teach kids how to ride safely. With the support of a strong bike education community in my area, I was able to become an LCI – (League Cycling Instructor), certified by the League of American Cyclists.
With my certification, I am able to teach a broad range of classes that include Traffic Skills 101, Commuting, Bicycling Skills Youth 123 and Bicycling Skills 123. I’m also qualified to teach Group Riding Skills, but quite frankly, I only prefer to teach those with little or no cycling experience.
I’ve taught a few Traffic Skills 101 classes as well as a few Youth 123 (Bike Rodeos), which are both enjoyable and quite rewarding. However, I’ve discovered that my favorite class to teach is actually a hybrid of the adult Bicycling Skills 123, where we teach adults how to ride.
Learning to ride as an adult is actually more common than you would think. There are plenty of adults who never had an interest or opportunity to learn when they were younger. Fortunately, that didn’t stop them from wanting to learn as adults. Of course, different people pick it up faster than others, which makes instructing as challenging as it is fulfilling. I’m still new to teaching the class, and I’ve discovered that I’m continually learning better ways to teach with each new student.
The end result is always extremely gratifying to me – especially when I see the huge grin on each person’s face as they ride a bike for the first time.
If you are an adult or know one who cannot ride a bike and live in the north Texas area, please reach out to my group to fine out when the next available class will be. We’d be happy to teach you.
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.
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.
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 Richardson, Bike 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.
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.