Saturday I completed a bike handling class put on by Keri Caffrey and Mighk Wilson. The class is a prototype for one that Keri and Mighk are planning to take live in the near future. When it does become available, grab the first slot you can, because it will change the way to think about bike riding and open up new possibilities for you and your bike.
Most bike riders, myself included, tend to cling to the side of roads, take the sidewalks a lot, and breathe a sigh of relief when we get to a trail. We think of our bike wheels as bull’s-eyes for errant motorists and our heads cricket balls for extra long rearview mirrors. If we can get past the fear of physical damage, there’s always the nagging feeling if you hold some motorist up they will chew you a new you-know-what with seldom heard verbal abuse.
What you will learn during Keri and Mighk’s course is that there is no reason to act like a shrinking violet on the road, and in fact placing yourself in control of each situation is safer and a lot more fun. Some of the content of this course has been made available through CommuteOrlando.com, but there’s nothing like having someone tell you, show you, and then guide you through, to get all the parts of your body working to actually carry out the action.
The full course consists of three, 3 hour sessions:
- Classroom – where laws, traffic dynamics and strategies are discussed. Example here.
- Parking lot – bike control techniques are learned and practiced
- Orlando tour – where riders get to put into practice all they’ve learned
We did class on Wednesday night, and the last two sessions back-to-back on Saturday. The two sessions made for a long day but the emersion and camaraderie kept us going to the end. Riding all around Orlando with a great group of riders and on a beautiful day was great fun, and the learning that went along with it was icing on the cake.
There were nine of us in the class and with two instructors we got plenty of individual attention with all questions answered. Future classes will be 10 to 12 students with two instructors. Keri and Mighk call their venture Florida Cycling Academy and plan to offer the course through the Florida Safety Council for individuals and directly to groups. Keri has posted a quick outline of the course here. They’re thinking of calling the course Cycle Savvy, a name I heartily endorse as I can attest that I got a lot of savvy out of it.
I’m going to ride more and practice the techniques and strategies I’ve learned. Even though I still might occasionally use the trails and a sidewalk or two if it means saving time. Hey, that’s one of the advantages of riding a bike!