Saturday, July 19, 2014

City Cycling Class

The class is taught monthly by Dan Yablonsky, a BikePGH staff member and Certified League Cycling Instructor and Bruce Woods, LCI and president of theMajor Taylor Cycling Club. The class will teach skills from the League of American Bicyclists Traffic Skills 101 & 201handbooks. Confident City Cycling will give first-time city riders a chance to acquire on-road skills and experience under a knowledgeable, watchful eye, and allow experienced bikers to check that they are riding with city cycling’s best practices. The Confident City Cycling class will cover:
  • Advanced hazard avoidance maneuvers such as: Quick Stop, Rock Dodge, Instant turn
  • Safely crossing intersections
  • Recap on control drills: starting/stopping/scanning/shifting
  • Bike infrastructure: what is it, where is it, how to use it
  • Group riding basics
  • Managing topography: climbs & descents

I was hoping to take this class back in June, but I'd missed that one and nearly missed this one too due to the weather! It was raining pretty hard the entire morning, three of the 10 showed up and the Church across the street was kind enough to let us use a room as a dry alternative to having class outside.
I was able to fool another person into thinking I've been riding for years and years. Dan was shocked to hear I've only been riding on the streets for 14 months.
So, the class consisted of me, a lovely British woman (I could listen to her speak all day!) and her teenage son. I got a much better idea of how to wear my helmet, learned a few tips on changing flats and re-installing a wheel with disc brakes... something I'll need to know soon.

The tennis ball drills were very helpful but as well as I do with avoiding surprise road hazards, I could not for the life of me grasp the tennis ball 'rock-dodge' course. My classmates breezed through it, but Dan and Bruce made me do it over and over in remedial fashion. I mean, I see the tennis ball there, it's not going to jump out and surprise me! So, instinctively, I just avoided it well in advance. FAIL.

Here we are are, out on the roads concentrating intently (See Bicycle Face) on avoiding potholes. I'm so glad BikePGH! was able to get the City to produce some pothole obstacle courses for us.

I was finally able to use the bus rack demo contraption. My classmates were seasoned pros at using the bus racks, so I got plenty of pointers.

Funny thing was, I tried lifting my bike (with the panniers still on it) onto the rack. That wasn't going to happen, I think she's a good 55 pounds fully loaded.  Tools, water, snacks, gadgets, locks, etc... it all adds up. I started taking the panniers off and a passerby asked if I needed assistance getting the bike onto the rack. I explained that this was a rack designed to help people learn how to do it themselves. He didn't understand and insisted on lifting the bike for me.
By then, I was amused by the rampant chivalry thwarting my efforts to learn how to use the bus rack. "No,'s OK, I'll just take the bags off. I need to learn how this thing works."
Maybe he thought it was a new fangled rack to lock up one's bike? Funny.

A great experience and more time spent learning from experienced cyclists. Time well spent.

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