Update 2: Ralph has changed the date of the June class to Sunday, June 26 in response to student requests. The change has been noted in the text below.
Want to see what *not knowing* the right way to share the road looks like? Take a look at this video of one intersection in New York City
. Then think about what it looks like in your town. Please consider taking a class. Thanks to @yescomputers on Twitter for the link.
You can learn to ride safely in traffic.
Sometimes you’re riding along on the road, cars passing by. Feeling good, happy. Suddenly you realize that you need to make a left turn at the next intersection. Know what to do?
If you aren’t confident you know how to execute that turn safely, you should seriously consider taking a cycling skills class.
Many situations present themselves to cyclists on the road with which taking a course and practicing with an instructor will help.
Ralph Sturgen, League Cycling Instructor
I talked with Ralph Sturgeon of Easthampton, MA, at the Manhan Trail Opening this past Sunday, about the safe cycling classes he will be teaching this summer. Ralph is certified as a cycling instructor by the League of American Bicyclists. He told me that many people think they know what to do based on what we learned as children.
Paraphrasing Will Rodgers, Ralph said, ‘It ain’t what we don’t know that causes us problems, it what we know that ain’t so.’ He gave me the example of when you were young you may have been told to ride on the left side of the road, facing traffic. “Not a good idea. It’s one of the more dangerous things you can do.” [Ralph’s photo is a screen grab from a video comment he did for me. The audio wasn’t usable, so I grabbed this shot.]
I’ve taken the course myself a few years ago, and I learned a great deal. Taking the course has even made me a better driver – more conscious of others on the road, and more understanding of what proper road cycling looks like.
Ralph is offering 2 classes this summer in Easthampton. [And we know how easy getting to Easthampton by bike has become on the Norwottuck and Manhan Rail Trails.]
25 26: “Bicycling on the Street” includes discussion of how traffic works (the rules of the road), bicycling laws, efficient use of the bicycle on the street, the equipment itself (including “all those gears”), basic group riding, and dealing with “simple” intersections.
July 9: “Surviving on the Street” includes changing a flat tire, discussion and practicum on crash avoidance, dealing with more complex intersections, and some basics of nutrition and hydration. The class ends with written and road tests for LAB (League of American Bicyclists’) certification.
The class is based on the LAB’s “Traffic Smarts 101” for adults (16+).
The target audience is recreational, exercising, and commuting cyclists.
There is a fee of $80.00 per student. This includes all course materials (except lunch).
You must bring a bicycle in good working order, a cycling helmet, and lunch (or money to buy).
Each day’s class will start at 8:30 and run until around 4:00.
You can reach Ralph Sturgeon by email at BikeTeacher1307 AT aol.com.
We are fortunate in the Northampton and Easthampton, MA area to have 2 certified instructors who will show you how to ride on the road safely and with confidence.
If you can’t make Ralph’s classes, try Robert Young at Pioneer Vally Bike School
in the Florence village of Northampton, which teaches riding skills and bike mechanics.