|I aced my training!|
When it comes to cycle safety, I have always resorted to the trusty knowledge I gained from the cycling proficiency course I took circa 1994. Being about 10 years old, I was more interested in my new flowery socks my Mum had bought from M&S rather than flapping my arm up and down to signal slowing down (do people even do that?). The course took place on a quiet cul-de-sac in a quiet town, so it wasn't surprising that I didn't learn any lifelong bicycle techniques such as filtering to the front of traffic and tackling multiple lane roundabouts.
Navigating around a busy city has taken practice and experience and I now like to think that I have the gift of the gab when it comes to cycle safety. Yes, I may not have the fluorescent jacket or a helmet to match, but I like to think I have good road awareness and patience at traffic lights. I bask in the ability to speed around London's congested streets leaving a flutter of flower petals as I pass. What more could I possibly learn?...
David Dansky from Cycle Training UK kindly offered me a cycle training session which turned out to be one of the most interesting and fun cycle experiences I have ever had. Can you teach an experienced cyclist new tricks? Indeed my friend, you can!
Firstly, David showed me some basic bicycle maintenance checks. Within five minutes I had learnt more about my bicycle than I ever have my whole life. Who would have known that the recommended tyre pressure is written on my wheels? Now THAT explains why there is a gauge on my pump!
|Signalling clearly with an open palm|
Then we practiced making turns to avoid things such as potholes, a very useful maneuver considering some of the craters I have to frequently dodge! He showed me how to emergency stop, a move which involves pushing my bottom off the saddle backwards to prevent flinging over the handle bars. I think I need a little more practice!
It was raining during the training session, but I was so engrossed in what I was learning that I didn't really notice or care. We peddaled our way around Islington taking it turns to take the lead. David showed me the importance of looking behind me frequently and the ability to control the traffic around me using the power of clear signalling and eye contact. What a difference this seems to make!
I am more confident in approaching traffic on the right hand side and I learnt to take the primary position on most of the roads I travel down. Many roads are narrow so it is safer to take the primary position and you won't really be holding up the drivers because they can't go fast down backstreets anyway.
David was a very calm, friendly instructor and made me feel at ease the whole time. Whether you are a beginner or a confident cyclist, I highly recommend this cycle training, it has given me a whole new refreshing take on the way I cycle!
At the end of the two hours, David and I sat in a cafe and chatted about all things cycling. Now that I have my eye on the drivers a lot more, I'll be able to cast them under a spell, a spell which says ' keep back dude!' or ' take over me with lots of space, cowboy!'.
It was a wonderful evening and I am looking forward to testing my new bicycle wizard safety knowledge on the roads in the coming months. I'll let you know how it goes!
You can pop over to the Cycle Training UK website to find out more about their training.