On a sunny morning a few weeks ago I ducked out of the workshop to take a cycle training session with Sam (Broken Spoke cycling instructor extraordinaire). He had been bugging me for ages to do it due to my fairly… err reckless form of cycling. We started with talking about what to wear and how to check your bike is safe before you ride. Experienced cyclists – suspend your judgement, it’s not all for the novice. The training was massively eye opening to me and I’ve been urban cycling since I was a teenager… in London! Sam identified some of the bad habits I’d got into over the years – like not looking behind, not using my gears to enable swift safe manoeuvres and things I’d never learnt like how to do an emergency stop (this is still a work in progress) and what position I should be in on the road and why.
Urban cycling is something we never really learn, we just pick it up. It’s so valuable to have someone watch your technique and take you through a really comprehensive syllabus. It’s really had an impact on my riding, I’m more self aware and responsible, though I’ll admit I have more work to do. Learning safe assertive cycling teaches us to behave like legitimate road users with rights and responsibilities – not curb hugging second-class road users. I’m totally converted to cycle training as a part of how we’ll change the roads from car-dominated danger zones to properly shared space with bikes as an equal player. Everyone should take cycle training!