Friday, February 12, 2010

Columbus LCIs Offering Spring Courses

Last year, Columbus gained seven new League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructors, and those instructors are now preparing spring classes for those interested in the safest ways to travel the roads on a bicycle.

The League of American Bicyclists cycling education courses are designed to help all cyclists, no matter what your goals. Transportation cyclists, racers, triathletes, mountain bicyclists, and club riders will all benefit from the basic skills in the LAB's Traffic Skills 101 course.

The details are as follows. If you're interested or have further questions, please contact one of the instructors in the course time/dates that interest you, or feel free to contact me at jfellrath@gmail.com if you have any general questions (or have interest in taking a course but not at the dates/times listed). We're also interested in preparing courses later in May/early June.

League of American Bicyclists Education Program
TRAFFIC SKILLS 101 COURSES

Develop your traffic and bicycle handling skills. Topics include bicycle and helmet fit, cycling in traffic, emergency maneuvers, group riding, changing a flat, cycling accessories.

Practice cycling in traffic on city streets and multi-use paths.

Participants must bring own bicycle. Helmet required.

Cost $60, for any session

Ages 16 and older. Ages 14 -15 with parent in same class.

Wednesdays, March 17 & 24 @ 6:30-8:30PM

Saturdays, March 20 & 27 @ 10AM-2PM

Instructors:

Location: Greenovate, 9 East 2nd Ave, Columbus


Saturdays, April 24 & May 1

Instructors:

Location: TBD

Women’s Only Class

Sundays, April 11 & 18, 1 – 6PM both days

Instructors:

Location: TBD


For more info: Yay Bikes!, Bike Commuting in Columbus

People, not speed.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Seattle Track-Crossing Sharrow Markings Keep Cyclists Upright

It's a problem that many cyclists have to deal with on a regular basis, all around the country. Few things are more dangerous than having to cross railroad tracks. With the upcoming increase in train travel and train improvements in the city of Columbus and throughout Ohio, this situation may become more prevalent than it is now, even.

The common wisdom, of course, is to cross them at as nearly a perpendicular angle as possible. The less chance we have of slipping into the groove to either side of the tracks, the safer we'll be when we ride.

Seattle has a situation where one of their bike lanes crosses a train track at a nearly parallel angle, though. There's not much way around it for cyclists, who didn't want to have to veer out into traffic to make the crossing safely. But the city of Seattle came up with a solution using a sharrow-like set of instructions that is almost impossible to miss. Check out this video from Streetfilms and see their simple answer.





Couldn't be simpler, could it? And this is a situation where on-street markings and infrastructure changes really do help out. Even if you don't have a bike lane or sharrow on the road in question, adding this bit of bike-friendly infrastructure is a great idea to keep people upright and safe.

And the road signs at this point might also go a long way to showing drivers that cyclists need to take this a little differently than they do - and to expect them to "unexpectedly" veer out. In fact, a big sign that says "Cyclists' Railroad Crossing - Please Watch Out" or something like that would be a big help.

People, not speed.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tip of the Day: Getting Those Cars to MOVE

It's happened to all of us who ride the roads regularly - that well-meaning driver who interrupts the flow of traffic to try to let a cyclist turn left in front of them. Or they'll sit behind you for miles on a busy road, to "protect you from other cars." Or they'll sit at a four way stop and hold up traffic trying to get you to cross or turn first.

I don't know about you, but this is something that drives me crazy about drivers. Sure, they think they're doing the right thing and helping to keep cyclists safe, but frequently they don't realize that you're watching out for other things and their "help" isn't really helpful at all. In fact, it's frequently quite dangerous!

Here's an example: Part of one of my occasional routes is on Indianola just north of Hudson. Frequently, I get stopped going northbound at the traffic light at Arcadia (right next to the Dairy Queen). This is a four-lane road (two lanes each way) at the top of a hill, the hill sloping down to the north. I want to turn left onto Arcadia at this point. See the picture below, looking north on Indianola and crossing Arcadia.

For some reason, this is a prime location for people wanting to let me cross in front of them to turn left onto Arcadia. And it's not always safe. If the car exhorting me to turn is an SUV or other taller vehicle, I can't always see if there's a car approaching in the oncoming curb lane. And what ends up happening is one of two things - either the cars behind the "Good Samaritan" start honking them to make them go, and they get frustrated with me and yell something as they go anyway, or they sit and wait until I go, even though I'd prefer just to let the flow of traffic work as it's supposed to.

So what to do in these situations? I've done the frantic wave and shaking my head thing, trying to get them to just go themselves, but that just makes them more insistent. I've done the sit and wait for them to go anyway, even though they are still sitting and waving. That just makes them mad.

The best way to handle this is to pretend like you haven't seen them waving at you. Take a drink from your water bottle. Fiddle with your gears. Look down the road as if you're trying to find something. Check your watch. Pull out your iPod and change the tune on it. Anything to make them think you haven't seen them.

If they think you haven't seen them, they're less likely to sit and wait for you to go.

Let me know how this works for you! And what tips do you have for people who find themselves in this situation?


People, not speed.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Bike the C-Bus planned for September 4th

Those of you who've enjoyed Bike the C-Bus as it winds its way around our fair city will be glad to know that the 2010 iteration of this ride has been scheduled.

Wheel your way over the Bike the C-Bus and make plans for September 4th, 2010.

People, not speed.

BikeSource locations offering maintenance and training classes

BikeSource locations in Clintonvillle, Dublin, and Westerville are preparing to offer a number of fantastic free clinics to cover a number of very important bicycling topics. The clinics start in February and go through the spring, so there are lots of opportunities for everyone to get to one of these classes.

Did we mention they're FREE?

Topics include:

  • Tire Changing Clinic

  • Bikes Need Love, Too! - basic maintenance for all bike owners.

  • Training for Your Big Ride - preparing for some of those huge rides, no matter what the distance!

  • No-Nonsense Nutrition - making sense of the confusing world of nutrition products.

  • Tri Bike Clinic - especially for you triathletes, how to keep your tri bike in good maintenance condition for your racing season.

  • Mountain Bike Clinic - maintenance and care of your pet mountain bike.

All these clinics start at 8:15 pm and will be offered at different times at the various locations: here's the schedule of clinics.

I'm particularly interested in the maintenance clinic. My knowledge of that stuff isn't up to snuff and I'm planning to be a part of that one at some point.

If you know of other such clinics and class offerings around the city for cycling, please comment below and we'll get these posted for you!

People, not speed.