Wednesday, February 27, 2008

March Road I "Street Cycling" Course

Location: River Trail Rentals, intersection of Riverfront Drive and Olive Street (one block south of Alltel Arena, just inside the flood wall), North Little Rock, AR 72116. Course fee: $50. (Scholarships can be available if money’s a problem… call the instructor.) Meet on Friday at 5:30 p.m. and on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. Contact Tom at or by phone at (501) 912-1047 for a class schedule or for more information on the course. The course material and class outline is available at

“Road I” is the adult bicycling skills course offered by the League of American Bicyclists, and taught by League-certified cycling instructors. It covers basic bicycle selection and fitting, fixing flat tires, inspecting a bicycle for safety, understanding state and local traffic laws, communicating with motorists, riding safely through traffic on various types of streets and intersections, selecting gear for foul weather and night riding, and avoiding crashes using defensive riding and emergency maneuvers. Even experienced bicyclists will learn many useful skills from this course.

If you are new to bicycling, or would like to feel more safe and comfortable riding on the local streets and roads, you will find this course especially helpful. Road I is a 10-hour course divided into two sessions, a block of classroom instruction and discussion, and a block of practice and practical exercise on the bike. Most of the class is hands-on, including bicycling on an open parking lot and on neighborhood streets. Anyone who registers should plan to attend both sessions. Participation is by pre-registration only.

River Trails Rentals is our host for this class, which will not only be a great and convenient location, but also a good chance to show off their facilities and what they can do for the local cycling community.

Friday Night, March 7 -- Street Cycling Skills: About 4 hours in the classroom using discussion, demonstrations, computer presentations, and videos. Street Skills covers the basics for skilled and enjoyable cycling, including riding in the Little Rock metropolitan area, necessary equipment, hazard and crash avoidance, and your legal rights and responsibilities. A bicycle is not required for this part of the course, but you may want to bring your helmet, since we will be covering helmet fitting in this session.

Saturday Morning, March 8 -- Street Cycling Skills Practice: About 5 hours. Prerequisite: Successful completion of Part 1- Street Cycling Skills. Most of this class will be on the bike. Street Cycling Skills Practice provides an opportunity to apply what was learned in the Street Cycling Skills course. We will be learning and practicing emergency maneuvers in an open parking lot, and will ride in a variety of Little Rock traffic conditions to practice and demonstrate your knowledge and performance of vehicular cycling skills. Street Cycling Skills Practice includes a written multiple choice test and a riding skills evaluation on the streets of Little Rock. For this course, you will need to show up with a helmet that fits and a bike that fits and is in good working order.

A traditional road or mountain bike with multiple speeds is an ideal bike to use for this class. However, any type of bike is okay -- if you have to ride a recumbent for whatever reason, bring your recumbent. Some of the hazard avoidance drills that we will be doing are best learned on a traditional road or mountain bike with front and rear brakes. A freewheel bike is easier to learn on and is less likely to cause you to crash. And remember, this class will be focusing a lot on how not to crash, or how to get out of a crash situation – not to give you practical experience in crashing!

Don’t have a bike yet? No problem. Our host, River Trail Rentals, can provide a bike and helmet at for a nominal fee for you to practice with.

Road I is a course that you can complete equally as comfortably in your cycling team kit or your regular street clothes. Bike gloves and bike clothing might make you a little more comfortable on the bike, but are by no means required for the class. We aren't going to ride a long distance at a strenuous pace. We are just going to do some riding practice, in open parking lots and on residential and downtown streets at an easy pace. Anything you can ride in is fine.

If there is rain in the forecast, come prepared. Relax, it is just part of the ride. We’ll stop for lunch in the River Market area toward the end of Saturday’s ride, and then finish up with the evaluations (yes, you get to grade Tom, too!) and head back to the start point for graduation.

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