I had always been a little skeptical about taking a course like this. I’ve been using a bicycle for over 45 years. I’ve ridden in a variety of environments, including some sizable metropolitan areas. Some bike friendly, some not.
I finally got off my behind and signed up for two reasons. The first being the response I got when I asked a fellow “senior” cyclist about their experience. The second: it is a prerequisite for pursuing the League Cycling Instructor certification. I’m smart enough to know that there are things I don’t know. I’m also smart enough to know that I’m probably doing some things wrong.
The class is taught in two sessions. A 3 to 4 hour class session, usually in the evening. And then 4 to 5 hour parking lot/road class the next day. The instructors will give a written test (multiple choice) and evaluate your road skills.
The classroom covers basic bike terminology, bike fit, basic maintenance, recommended clothing and equipment. It includes discussion of state laws pertaining to bicycles. A lot of the class is spent talking about the causes of accidents (hate that word) and ways to avoid them. Particularly important are the lane positioning scenarios.
The bike portion begins with slow speed drills in a parking lot. This includes rock avoidance, quick stop, the quick turn, turning, scanning and signalling. Then the instructors follow you on a course through city streets navigating various intersections, turns and street configurations.
A lot of the class was very basic for me–stuff I had picked up over the years. Especially bike maintenance, terminology, equipment, etc. What made the class worthwhile for me was the concepts of lane positioning and tips/tricks for navigating in the midst of traffic. That was reinforced during the class ride (we rode on some of the more “interesting” streets/intersections in the west campus area). In addition, the parking lot drills were both fun and informative. I especially liked the introduction to the “quick turn” (sometimes referred to as the “instant turn”). This is an important avoidance manuever if you are ever the subject of a left cross or a right hook and are unable to stop. A little hard to do initially, but with practice the confidence grew.
So I highly recommend this course to any cyclist–new or experienced. You will gain confidence for riding in traffic and gain understanding of how to prevent/avoid mishaps.