Commuter Cycling 101: Take a Class

Last weekend, Columbus was the proud location of its first League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructor Seminar. In one fell swoop, Columbus increased its number of League Cycling Instructors from two to nine! And I'm very proud to include myself among that number.

I've most certainly mentioned the league before. Here's our mission statement:

To promote bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation and work through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America.

So what does this have to do with Commuter Cycling 101? Simply this: with 9 instructors in town, we're making plans to do a LOT more classes. And let's face it - though I type till my fingers fall off, nothing can replace a face-to-face class with an experienced cycling instructor who can give you all the basics, evaluate your riding and make suggestions to improve it, and answer your questions as they arise and to your satisfaction.

So today's Commuter Cycling 101 suggestion is: take a class. The LAB classes that would interest commuter cyclists the most are Traffic Skills 101 and Commuting. Here are the course descriptions from the LAB website:

Gives cyclists the confidence they need to ride safely and legally in traffic or on the trail. The course covers bicycle safety checks, fixing a flat, on-bike skills and crash avoidance techniques and includes a student manual. Recommended for adults and children above age fourteen, this fast-paced, nine-hour course prepares cyclists for a full understanding of vehicular cycling.

For adult cyclists who wish to explore the possibility of commuting to work or school by bike. This three hour follow-up to Traffic Skills 101 covers topics including route selection, bicycle choice, dealing with cargo and clothing, bike parking, lighting, reflection, and foul weather riding. Included with the class are handouts and student materials.

Also, look into the works of John Forester. Forester is considered by many to be the guru of transportation cycling in the US. His books that have influenced the way the league teaches and the material we teach. Reading doesn't replace a class with a qualified instructor, to be sure, but Effective Cycling by Forester will certainly give you a LOT of knowledge on the subject.

We are also happy to customize a course for you and/or your organization if you would like. In the past LCIs have done courses with the very basics of traffic riding and commuting for specialized audiences, for example. The above courses can be shortened or expanded upon for your audience as well! We can teach sub-topics of the courses above as well. If you're not interested in the recreational aspects of cycling but really want some riding tips and practice, for example, let us know!

The League also offers classes in advanced traffic skills, age-appropriate classes for kids, and even classes for motorists wanting to know more about cycling and expectations of cyclists in traffic. The goal, of course, is to create educated cyclists AND motorists!

If you're looking for classes, check the LAB website for class and instructor listings. And keep an eye on this blog for class offerings for the Columbus and Central Ohio area. Feel free to contact me or any of the other instructors listed on the LAB website with questions and requests for classes - if you want a class, get hold of one of us either via our email address on the LAB site, the comments on this blog, or by posting at Yay Bikes, and one of us will certainly contact you to see what you're looking for.

People, not speed.