Saturday, January 16

Son of Bike School

LAB Image - I think they're wearing those helmets in case a strong gust of wind
causes them to fall over while posing for the photo.
Tomorrow morning, I take bike school. Again. This time, I'm going to an "official" LAB-approved Traffic 101 course. The same course I've been trying to take since last March. Remembering ChipSeal racing advice, I "plan to go to class" so I can "go to class to plan." Whatever. I'm not really looking for validation since I know my basic riding is sound, and I already got familiar with the bike handling drills. I surely will get added reinforcement from repetition, but this time, I have more specific objectives. Namely:
  • Complete the official LAB Course to proceed and become a certified cycling instructor. We NEED courses in Tarrant Countay and there are none. That's pretty lame for a county with nearly 2 million people. I'd like to be able to make a post OTHER than "Loneliness of the Long Distance Yeti."
  • Obtain advice on the best means of riding on multi-lane and two-lane roads containing moderate to wide shoulders. Mostly, I ride in the RH traffic lane in the "left center" position on such roads. In the case of a shoulder that is a full traffic lane wide (such as the I-35W Service Road north of Cabela's), I sometimes elect to treat the shoulder as equivalent to a traffic lane, much as motorists do on roads in rural Texas.
  • Obtain advice on the best practices when riding on narrow two-lane roads containing double yellow lines when cars stack up behind me. Such situations usually occur when a timid motorist is behind and afraid to violate the law to safely pass me with a full lane change, or because oncoming traffic is heavy. My current approach is that if I get a "train" stacking up, I'll sight a safe place to pull off ahead, signal my intent well ahead of time, and then execute the maneuver, pulling back onto the road when traffic clears. In this case, I behave much as I would if I were driving any large and slow vehicle most places in the western US.
  • Obtain advice on how to safely ride in the presence of bike lanes. My approach to riding bike lanes is shown here. I have found that ignoring them entirely, as here and here, raises my stress levels. What's more, some claim that NOT riding in bike lanes is illegal in Texas.
  • Hear contrasting views on the above three items about what is "best practice," dangerous," or "irresponsible/rude." Frankly, I would not be surprised to hear different answers from each instructor. I will listen carefully to each answer.
  • Clarification on stop signals when used in combination with an intended turn, particularly when the turn direction is to be a right. Unlike motorists, a cyclist cannot safely simultaneously signal a stop and a turn, and switching from one to the other may confuse following motorists.
  • Method of properly centering V brakes. This is my first cross bike with V brakes.
  • On a lighter note, I plan to ask if "Presta" is an acronym for "Practically Ruins Everything since Stations Take Another" (type of valve) OR "Use Schrader or be Later."
No, this doesn't mean I've suddenly become a fan of LAB. It's merely the only game in town right now. I STILL think we need better advocates, but LAB is better than nothing...

UPDATE on APRIL 25, 2010: Via third party request, I note that a source about my note that some claim NOT riding bike lanes is illegal in Texas may be found here. While not requested, I'll also note that the referenced post predates my excursion into Fort Worth's "newly painted bike lane," described here, and featuring my header photo, as well as the date I sighted the third party riding in the very SAME bike lane.


Keri said...

I'm very much looking forward to your observations of the class and whether or not is offers what you seek.

Mrs. Gail P. Spann said...

I figured out that we can teach an old dog new tricks after all, right Steve??????
PS...come sign up for the LCI certification class of June 4,5,6th in Plano. You can sign up on the LAB site. As you say, it's better than nothing...

Steve A said...

I've noticed that signup page,and plan to be there - with bells on!

Chandra said...

Rats, that's my forecast part of the month and I doubt I will be able to make it to this class, simply because of the timing.
Peace :)

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