Sunday, May 31, 2009

Noontime LANL bike safety course, Part II

I am giving a two-session bike safety course based on the League's Traffic Skills 101 curriculum on 10 June and 17 June over the lunch break (2 hrs total). This is NOT equivalent to Neale and Amy's Traffic Skills 101 course and does NOT come with League certification.

If you are a LANL employee and interested in cycling safety but cannot make the full 8 hour League class this week, check out the Wellness Center's schedule. I don't remember the course number but can add that info on Monday.

It is possible that for those who take the 2 hour class version and who wish to obtain the full TS 101 certification, we can schedule the road and parking lot drill sections at a later date and fill in the course details, but the Wellness Center isn't keen on scheduling an 8 hour show all in one gulp. Let's see who shows up.

The on-road and bike handling skill sessions are pretty important. You don't learn this stuff in a classroom, but on the road.

Note: if you left on time on the 10th, you didn't get a copy of Street Smarts by John Allen (no charge, courtesy of Industrial Hygene and Safety Division). So if for some reason you cannot make it to Part II, please contact me at work and I will send your copy by intramural mail. I put a reminder slide into my Power Point to help me remember this time!


Amy said...

Khal, we're going to postpone our class since we only had one student who could definitely make it. We'll reschedule for later in the summer, probably mide to late July. If you get anyone interested in taking the full Road class, maybe you can pass that on.

Khal said...

I'll definitely pitch the full class, Amy. That is, assuming I have any takers!

reid said...

I signed up, thanks. But I may not be able to make part 2 due to a schedule conflict. 1 out of 2's not bad, right?

I'd be interested in the longer course, too, having very basic, sloppy, drunk-looking riding skills.

Anonymous said...

It's OK to have sloppy, drunk looking riding skills. Don't ruin riding a bike for yourself by thinking you have to have emulate a particular form decided on by others. Just ride.

Khal said...

Last time I checked, there wasn't any sign of the Bicycling Police out there. Seems Reid did this of his own volition.

reid said...

Heh.... I didn't mean to strike up a discussion on the merits of drunk-looking riding. I think it makes sense to learn how to ride a bike properly (turning, braking, etc.), as well as the correct and safe ways to interact with other things on the road. I'm hoping the drunkenness subsides with practice, but until it does, the thought of wobbling around down Trinity is a bit scary.

Khal said...

I'd hate to think there are "particular form(s) decided on by others..." blessed by the mullahs of cycling. On the other hand, there are some things people do that are hazardous and its better to learn from some other person's mistakes rather than be picking one's self off of Mr. Pavement. That's all.

Anonymous said...

The more wobbly you are on Trinity the greater the passing distance cars will give you. When I see a car overtaking me a bit too close, I intentionally wobble and act like I may swerve into the lane further. It always buys me a few extra feet.

reid said...

No argument here, Khal. Seems pretty sensible. I wasn't even sure what the original poster was getting it. I'm just a novice rider, I'm not looking to be a rebel or toe the party line.

Anonymous, I see that there are indeed advantages to drunk-looking riding! I'd still be nervous about some yahoo not caring and swooping by within inches. (Or worse, intentionally doing so.) It only takes one incident....

Anonymous said...

I get it just fine. I'm just offering another school of thought.

Our modern world, especially here in Los Alamos, seems enamored with letters at the end of people's name. Everything has to be codified, specialized, and formalized.

It hasn't worked for public education, corporate America, or LANL for that matter. If you want to be a better cyclist, just ask a friend who rides. Formalized, officially sanctioned, and scheduled courses just seems a little over the top in terms of riding a bike.

Now, with all that said, pursue cycling in whatever manner works for you. The important thing is that you ride.

Khal said...

I dunno, Reid. You might want to practice the drunken effect until it becomes high art. It may be a style that has both stylistic and safety benefits!

Anonymous, I work where codification, specialization,and formalization are taken to the degree normally used to demonstrate reducto ad absurdum. Its not my model for cycling courses, and undoubtedly not Amy or Neale's either. Good grief...lets have some perspective. This isn't Conduct of Ops stuff, just teaching people how to do a rock dodge (for example), which comes in handy for dodging potholes as well.

Suum cuique

Anonymous said...

Do you need to formally schedule classes, get certified to do so, and follow a carefully scripted curriculum to show someone a rock dodge? Yes, let's gain some perspective.

The point is cycling doesn't benefit from experts, specialists, advocates, or any other self appointed label. There is a certain level of absurdity to being a certified bicycle teacher. It's like having classes on how to walk safely.

Khal said...

The reason the class is formally scheduled is because the Wellness Center is sponsoring it and it behooves everyone to show up at the same time.

Actually, the class content is a mix of LCI Traffic Skills 101 stuff, my own additions, and some stuff in the Mass Bike Police Training kit. I did that to try to come up with two hours that works. Neale and Amy are planning the full League monty for anyone interested.

One reason for Certification and a script is to ward off lawyers but to some degree if one is signing up for a course, whether it be cycling, calculus, or judo, it benefits the student to know what he/she is getting.

I flatly disagree with your notion that this equates to teaching how to walk. Cycling, like motorcycling, has specific skill sets as well as vulnerabilities to be aware of so one can enjoy the ride and avoid crashes, ergo the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and the League of American Bicyclists.

That is not to say such courses are required to ride a bike or motorcycle, but they do teach material that one sometimes learns the hard way. I wish I knew how to make an "instant turn" back in 1979, rather than having gone airborne over a car and thus into the back of an ambulance. So the course includes instant turns and obstacle dodges because these are useful skills otherwise not typically learned by a lot of riders.

You don't want to be involved, God bless yah! You won't get an argument out of me, Anon. But why you feel so irritated by the notion is beyond me. But have a great day and by all means I concur, the important thing is to ride our bikes.

Anonymous said...

I don't feel any irritation at all. That is one of the drawbacks to email and other electronic means of communication. Facial expressions and body language are missing.

I'm expressing another school of thought, not only on cycling, but our modern world in general.

One man's class is another man's absurdity. Everybody is formally certified for every conceivable human endeavor.

I once received a business card from an LCI. I thought it odd that people feel the need to be certified in bicycle riding. Not trusting my own instincts, I showed the card to several colleagues. Most thought it was some kind of joke.

Please continue to promote riding in any way you think is best. Just know that the idea certified bicycle instructors strike some people as odd.

Khal said...

Actually, it sometimes strikes me as a little odd too, just as the local employer's term "subject matter expert" and other officialese sounds a little over the top. I've often wondered how someone can be declared a "subject matter expert" in some field with the stroke of a pen, usually wielded by someone who knows less about the subject matter.

I want to be declared an SME in the field of knowing the Mind of God.

Actually, I'd have no problem working with people informally, as my old bike racing team captain did with me and my team-mates. He was very effective in teaching us how to race without crashing, and had no certificate or manual to show for it. He taught us how to hop curbs at an acute angle so if you got cut off in a criterium, you could save yourself.

If there is good to be done, and I think there is, it is in spite of the officialdom, not because of it. The officialdom bears witness that a bunch of people are organizing around the topic, swapping lies, and incidentally collecting money and producing a marketable product, he says sarcastically. I think the product has merit, even if the packaging and hoopla sounds a little pompous.

Well, anyway. Thanks for keeping us honest in our puffery!

Anonymous said...

Fair enough. The passion you show for cycling is all the certification you need.