Friday, December 16, 2011

Bike Safety Ed

NEW!  BICYCLE SAFETY FOR ADULTS – Do you want the confidence to bicycle more often?  Would you like to learn the Rules of the Road and how to safely bicycle on local streets?  Then this class is for you!  Join local League Cycling Instructors, certified through the League of American Cyclists, to learn:  Illinois Rules of the Road, Bicycle handling and traffic skills, How to fix basic mechanical problems and Safety – common causes of crashes and how to avoid them.  This will be a two-hour classroom presentation and interaction program designed to equip you with the basic information to bicycle more confidently.  Interested students can then take the Bicycle Safety Skills for Adults class that offers parking lot drills to practice bicycle handling skills. Class meets Apr. 26. 
Thursday - 6:00 - 8:00 pm...... Room 1156 UHS
One session (2 hours)........... $15.00
NEW!  BICYCLE SAFETY SKILLS FOR ADULTS – Do you feel you lack the skills to bicycle safely?  Would you like to learn basic bicycle riding skills from a certified instructor?  Sign up for this class and you will learn and practice basic bicycle handling skills.  Local League Cycling Instructors, certified through the League of American Cyclists, will demonstrate and assist students in learning and practicing the following skills:  Starting & Stopping, Straight Line & Shifting, Scanning, Scan/Signal/Turn, Quick Stop, Rock Dodge, Avoidance Turn and Quick Turn.  This class is open to students 16 and older (16 & 17 year olds must have parental permission) who can ride a bicycle.  This is a two-hour class that will be held off-road in a parking lot.  Students must bring their own bicycle and helmet.    Class meets May 3. 
Thursday - 6:00 - 8:00 pm..........
Urbana Parking Lot #24 (near corner of Illinois & Broadway)
One session (2 hours).......... $15.00

For more info go here.

Use Your Turn Signals, Please!

This has been a pet peeve of mine for, well ever, since I learned to drive certainly. Please, please, please, please use your turn signals! I was almost hit a week ago when a car was on Washington heading west (or so I thought since he had no turn signal) and I was on Washington crossing Prospect heading east. It was dark, but I had a front light on and reflective clothing. The car ended up turning left (south) onto Prospect and came within inches of my bike. I had the right of way since we were both at stop signs and I arrived first and was going straight. I was in the street. I had a wary eye out for the driver because I know often drivers do not use their signals when no cars are in front or behind them. Use your signal EVERY time. I don't care if the place is deserted, use it.

Yes, cyclists need to signal as well. I try to, even when I don't see anyone else around. The only times I don't signal is when I can't spare a hand from my bike to keep it upright. This is an issue with a full load on my bike and making a turn. I wonder if we should have handlebar lights that can be used as signals. I wonder if cars would notice them. Sometimes I think we are completely invisible and it doesn't matter what we do, drivers will never see us or care. I mean they never seem to have any negative consequences to hitting a pedestrian or driver. Oh to live in a place where pedestrians and cyclists were respected instead of loathed.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Staying Warm

It is that time of year again when we opt for the bus more than our bikes. Here is Josie (four) waiting patiently and warm for the bus. We still ride to school and home with our 11 year old son. With all of us expending energy we can keep pretty warm. Josie starts to get cold for long trips on my Xtracycle even when she is pretty bundled up because she gets the breeze from riding, but none of the warmth producing exercise.

She does ride her own pedal bike now (she was loving her balance bike so much she wasn't interested until Thanksgiving weekend). Yet, she is slow close to the ground and not super visible (even with her bright orange bike) that she still rides on my Xtracycle for longer rides.

Skull caps are key to cycling in the winter, in my opinion. They are thin enough to fit under your helmet, but warm. Add a neck gator and you are toasty. Good gloves are also nice. Lobster gloves in sub-zero temps are great, but any quality gloves work most of the winter. Especially for the kids, make sure the gloves still allow for good bike control and breaking. Don't forget, the shorter days mean you need a light with you at all times. Be careful and be seen!