Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bi-cycle, Bi-cycle, Bi-cycle

"I love to ride my bicycle...." --Queen

So today I had my free bike riding class, sponsored by Waverly Council. The city of Sydney is currently going through a transition to try to make their streets more bike-friendly, in the hopes that it will decrease the number of drivers, thereby reducing the congestion and the pollution. They have invested a fair bit of money on some new bike lanes on some of the major roads, and are sponsoring things like the free bike class. The class was called "Commute to Work by Bike" or something like that. The city has also sponsored a "Back on Your Bike" basics course, which I felt I was beyond.

I was the only attendee who showed up for the course. While that's a bit disappointing because I would like to see people taking advantage of these things offered by the city, it was cool because the instructor was able to tailor the course to me. First, we took a ride around the park and over towards my work so I could see some commuting route options. This was also a teaching opportunity, where my instructor would stop occasionally and talk about being aware of your surroundings -- things to watch for, ways to signal, etc. Then, we rode back to where we started and did some drills where I practiced looking behind me, making tight turns, and emergency stops. I learned some new techniques on all three of those, that I plan to practice on my quiet suburban street so that when I have to use them in real life, they come more naturally.

I was really impressed with my instructor, Geoff Nash. He was friendly, patient, and did a great job of building my confidence. I really liked the way he used our ride around the park for some real-life instruction. Geoff said that he wished Waverly Council would charge a nominal fee for the course, so that people wouldn't bail so frequently. After taking the course, I would gladly have a paid a fee. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot. Too bad for all those other suckers that blew it off, but that was a definite benefit for me!

I'm going to see if I can get Ethan to sign up for one too, when he gets here.


Linda/Mom said...

When I read you were taking a bike riding class I thought it was, at the very least, overkill and preaching to the choir. Sounds as if you got a lot of good hints though.

In addition to signing eaf up for one, maybe you can provide some publicity among friends and co-workers.

I agree with the instructor - a small fee would probably encourage attendance. Amazing how people think that something free isn't worthwhile and therefore ok to just blow off.

Anonymous said...

I like your new page banner picture and the general look of the blog. Good job. Kudos.

L said...

Thanks, anon! I have another change or two in the works -- nothing major, though.

Mom, I almost didn't go because I realized I would have to ride my bike there and thought, well what's the point of taking the class after I've ridden on the mean streets of Sydney? But I did because I had committed, and I thought the techniques he taught were really useful. It was a lot more about navigating a potentially hazardous urban riding environment than basic biking skills.