On a beautiful Sunday, when I should have been hiking my feet off, I went to a bicycle course. This Traffic Safety Course was designed by the League of American Bicyclists and given by Claudia Nix of Liberty Bicycles (on the left) and Gwen Wisler (on the right).
The course was about three hours of classroom work and three hours of biking skills on the ground. The main message was that “bicyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles.” That means riding with confidence and competence. Yes, I know – that’s what I’m still working on.
The other students in the class – and there were only five of us – were way ahead of me. I took this class because it was offered now.
The course started from basics on how to check your bike before a ride to proper posture to where a bike belongs in traffic. Gwen talked about the death grip which will give you pain in your wrists and hands. That describes exactly the way I’m holding the bike right now – and after a ride, it’s my hands that hurt the most.
Then we went outside to learn how to fix a flat tire. Claudia took off her back wheel – quite a complicated procedure since the chain and your derailleurs are there. She proceeded to take out her inner tube, flatten it, replace it and pump it up again.
I had to leave after that but the rest of the class learned several emergency maneuvers. I could say that I was sorry to leave but frankly I was not ready to practice evasive actions if a driver cuts you off when I’m still not comfortable on my bike.
The most surprising thing was that they didn’t have 50 people on this course. I hope they offer it again next spring before I’m ready to ride on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Let’s not forget why I’m doing all this.