Monday, January 18, 2010

LAB's Traffic Skills 101

Over Jan. 16th and 17th, I took LAB's Traffic Skills 101 offered by LAB. This class was organized by BikeDFW.

This was a two day class. On the first day, we were in a class room for about 4 hours (including breaks). We split just before lunch. The first day covered topics ranging from identifying bike parts, how to smoothly shift, the rules of the road, how not to be intimidated by traffic, fixing a flat and most importantly what is likely to be on the test :) We got the manual (pictured below) with lots of information.

We had 2 great instructors, Gail and Richard, both LCIs with the LAB. Both were great teachers, not just in explaining the theoretical aspects of the course, but also at riding a bicycle, as we came to find out during the practicum portion of the course on the 2nd day. Here's Gail!

Here is Richard explaining the proper positioning of a bike's saddle. He also went into great detail explaining how the sit bones' positioning on the saddle can affect comfort. Gail talked about the genesis of today's fine saddles.

Richard examining Sheila's saddle.

Here is Steve showing Dorothy how the app on his iPhone worked. I think Steve is very attached to the iPhone.

The second day of the class started with lots of drills in the parking lot of the JCC. Although the temps got up to 60+ on the second day, the morning was a bit cloudy and hence chilly. Here is all of us pushing our bikes towards our instructor.

Note: Steve checking out how well balanced his bike is by rolling it holding only the rear of the saddle!

One of the hardest drills, at least for me, was to scan for vehicles before making a turn. I am so used to using my rear view mirror, although I do turn my head and check as well. However, on the 2nd day of the class, it dawned on me that I do not have such a great mobility when it comes to turning my head to the right. It is hard for me. Another thing I realized is that the temples of my eye glasses actually create a blind spot.

Yet another view of the blind spot!

Steve excelling at scanning!

The most challenging part, for many of the participants was learning to avoid a skid. Steve did the best  in this category. However, just as he was about finish, a monster ate the top half of him. No, I am just kidding! Steve did such a great job that the instructors asked him to hold the position (stomach on the saddle, that's tough) so others can really take a good look at the great maneuver.

We also learned how to make sudden right and left turns. These would come in handy if a car came too close to us or if a car made an illegal turn and put us at risk.

The participants and the teachers brought some of their fine bicycles to the class. Below is Richard's bike.

Eric's fine Norco!

Steve's Buddy, a fine light weight bicycle!

Ms. Sally's pretty Trek Madone!

Concluding remarks:
  1. This class was a very enjoyable and an informative one.
  2. I strongly recommend this class for anyone wanting to ride on the roads (or currently riding on the roads).
  3. I thought adding a video or animation showing typically challenging traffic situations would have benefited the course.
Well, it has been another beautiful night and it's been fun talkin' to y'all but I think it is time to go to bed (or so say the kitties)!

    Peace :)

    PS. The coffee the LCIs brought was awesome :)


      1. It was our pleasure to teach you all this past weekend, everyone was so willing to learn, from the seasoned cyclist to the novice rider. I hope to see you move on to becoming an LCI yourself, you have the passion for it. Cheers, Gail Spann, LCI #1900

      2. Glad the course went well for you!

        Also, love your Co-Motion. I have the first Co-Motion sold in Texas -- a 1993 titanium tandem! They are awesome bikes.

      3. Note to self - must review my files for embarassing Chandra photos.

        BTW, are your glasses to correct close or far vision? Keri Caffrey noted that she needed her mirror badly until she had lasik and now rarely uses one. Fortunately, I only need glasses for reading and close work.

      4. @Steve --- Hope I didn't offend you by my lousy writing. I have to rewrite a portion of my last post. BTW, the one of me during the test is a great shot for "Chandra The Hobo" LOL!

        I am myopic so I need correction for shortsightedness. I am not sure I want Lasik. I know a few for whom Lasik did not work and it made things worse.

        Peace :)


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