Saturday, September 26

Buddy Takes Steve to Class

Legendary "Ginger Man" in Dallas
Lots of people talk about education being something that would help cyclists. It's easy to say. Skiing is very education oriented. Solo Racing is very education oriented. Motorcycle operation is fairly education oriented. Mostly, however, cyclists and their advocates TALK about education and bemoan the abysmal way people on bikes ride. Thankfully, Whareagle and Dorothy took me in hand and filled in gaps in my education. We met up at the American Airlines Center in Dallas and I learned a lot.

I'm not shy about riding on the road, nor of taking my place in traffic, but I can't objectively see and critique my own riding. I feel strongly that when we ride, we should always strive to be improving to be the best we can be. Our bikes deserve no less.

Here are just a few of the many things I learned:
  • My stop signaling technique is pretty shabby. Actually, it was almost embarrassing. I will diligently work on that, despite my conflicting feelings about doing traffic stops using only the rear brake.
  • My turn signals are, however, first rate, though multiple lane changes were not up to their usual standard this morning.
  • I should stop measuring blinky life in terms of how long I can make the batteries last and instead measure goodness in how quickly I can wear the blinky batteries out.
  • I was correct in thinking that my saddle might be a touch aft and tilted a bit down. It's all fixed now.
  • I was reminded of the frat guy scene in "Breaking Away" when they were training for the "Little 500" - "Keep your arms bent and your elbows in!" That's also easier when you have a sharp-eyed instructor in the item above.
  • I learned where the "Ginger Man" is - a legendary locale where the famous and infamous of Dallas hang out. We did not, however, go inside since class was in session. Apparently bicycle school and bars do not mix well.
  • I learned that I should not complain about flaky cyclists in Tarrant County after seeing the wildlife along the Katy Trail. It's the first time I've ever seen an expensive helmet on someone backwards.
  • On the other hand, traffic seemed pretty tame in Dallas, even considering it was a Saturday morning. Maybe their motorists were feeling sleepy. More likely, my sneaky instructors were taking me around on "ringer" streets. Even the Dallas Police seemed sweeter than their Fort Worth bretheren, and I'm not sure my instructors could arrange something like that, though they DO have a very friendly, "friendly wave" technique. I'm wishing I could have videoed those waves now...
  • My "Passing on your left" technique is a little rusty. I may need to hang out around busy MUPs a little more to practice.
  • Streetcar tracks are just as scary as I remember. That bent wheel came back as if it was yesterday. Filigree is wise to be wary of them, as here. Since they're running down the street, crossing them at right angles isn't in the cards if you have to make a turn.
  • It's not as embarassing to fall off your bike in class as you think.
  • Turns on skis and turns on bikes have more in common than I imagined.
  • If you try a bunny hop and both shoes unclip, it's time to consider getting new cleats - educational goal - I want to be able to clear a regulation curb with both wheels BEFORE cyclocross season starts.
  • It's not as hard to get bike shorts snagged on the back of your saddle as you think. It is, however, just as awkward as you think.
  • I learned new uses for old tennis balls and will promptly start a collection.
  • Richard's standards for smooth pavement are much higher than mine.
  • Dorothy was visiting Seattle at the same time I was this summer. It truly is a small world.
  • Richard's dog is one of the best behaved of its species I have ever encountered. Boston Terriers are also the perfect size to ride to restaurants in the front basket of a Gary Fisher City Bike.
  • Richard's wife is a fellow Roosevelt HS Alum - GO ROUGHRIDERS! More on the small world theme.
A word of warning to anyone that may not have read this blog much. Yes, you can expect me to elaborate on some of the above items in future posts.
Richard and Dorothy, my patient instructors. I apologize for the poor shot composition!


twister said...

Dallas, a nice place to visit, but wouldn't want to live there?

Steve A said...

I can't argue with that. I think of Dallas as "Where the East ends." It was pretty nice to visit this morning, however. One thing I don't understand about Dallas, "Why do they need so many DART Police when they have a regular police department?"

Keri said...

Congrats on finally getting that bike class! I love the list! I'm so glad we don't have streetcar tracks here the steep angle RR tracks are challenge enough.

carmelina said...

despite my conflicting feelings about doing traffic stops using only the rear brake

I find the easiest way around this is to put the front brake cable on the right (switching the normal arrangement on new bicycles). I've done this on almost all my bicycles, for the same reason. Also if I want to signal a left turn, I'll frequently have to wait for oncoming traffic, and want to have most of my braking available. This is an easy change to make yourself, especially since you seem to work on your own bicycles

Steve A said...

Buddy was originally set up the way Carmelina suggests and I rode it that way for nearly three months, considering it as a primary setup. I will do a post on this in the not too distant future. There are advantages and disadvantages to each setup. You DO want to keep all your bikes the same way.

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