This post is not about San Diego, but it is about a class. Tonight was the first of three sessions of the League of American Bicyclists class. That’s right! A Dude is attempting to become a League Cycling Instructor (LCI). This is a follow-up to the Smart Cycling class, which I wrote about last month. I also blogged about the League in this post. Taken together, you can learn a few things about bicycling safety and education. I won’t repeat much of the content, though. For that you can and should sign up for a Smart Cycling or LCI class yourself! Because it’s an intensive weekend, this will be a more brief post than usual (that’s a good thing). I’ll post a follow-up on my usual next day, which is Monday. OK, time to open your notebooks! Ready, begin.
No, I shall not apologize for the photo of Will Farrell as the eponymous character in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. I’m too… uh, cultured for that. Anyway, the first thing I noticed about being in the class is that I kinda like learnin’ me some new brain stuff, and I’m purty darn good at it too! OK, some Texans do talk like that, but I’m not one. Usually. But yes, acquiring new knowledge is an interesting and enjoyable process.
Because no matter how good a cyclist one is, there are details that you probably didn’t learn while riding. For example, many long-distance hammerhead road cyclists may go out and do 60, 80 or 100 miles, but much of it is in straight lines. They usually have no occasion for doing a quick turn. But in traffic, it’s a vital tool that could save your life. Another thing: lane positioning. I’m co-presenting this topic tomorrow. There are some tricky nuances to this which I did not know about. Not because I’m a bad cyclist, it’s just because I never sat down to study how to do it. So yes, groking some new info ain’t a bad thing. (I know, no one says grok anymore. But I kinda like it.)
Hard Habits to Brake
While I’ve got biking down fairly well, after my many, Many, MANY miles of mashing my meat moccasins (by that I mean feet inside bike shoes. I ran out of alliterative words to use, OK? Jeez!) The point is, I have some biking habits that aren’t so safe. Even this morning, on an errand in a part of town I don’t frequent much, I made an error. Let’s explore.
I was on the sidewalk of a main road because there was no bike lane, fast traffic and I wasn’t going very far before a turn. Avoiding traffic, I crossed into a driveway just when a car driver was leaving. Neither of us was going fast, and that was by design because I knew that drivers would not be accustomed to or looking in my direction. So, disaster was averted. But I should have patiently waited at the light to enter the road, which did eventually have a bike lane that started a block or two down.
If I am to teach new cyclists how to do things safely, I will have to start doing them more if not all the time myself. Modeling good behavior isn’t just a good idea, it’s added protection for me to stay alive and in one piece. However, I must be doing something right, because after about 17,000 miles in four years, I have never had a crash with a car. Knock or touch wood, as they say. But again, breaking bad habits is one way to improve your performance as a cyclist and share the road. If there’s one thing that the League emphasizes, is that:
Cyclists are safest when treated like other vehicles.
-paraphrase of a quote from Fred Meredith
My fellow students and I will be keeping this in mind over the next two long days. We will do more classroom study, presentations, drills and road rides. Lots of observing, listening, critiquing and being critiqued. With any luck, I will emerge with the distinction, honor and responsibility of teaching other people how to safely enjoy riding their bikes. I certainly meet plenty of adults who wish they had a bike, or felt safe riding the one they have. Knowledge is power, and power is good. Especially when you’re mashing out the many, Many, MANY miles with YOUR meat moccasins. Til Monday, get on your bikes and ride… responsibly!
To learn how you might become an LCI, check out this link: https://www.bikeleague.org/content/become-instructor
Check out this free guide to Smart Cycling!
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