Experiences of Cycle Training

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  • yeh nuff respect troutio

  • Inspired by this thread have contacted Greenwich council about training. Wiganwill et al I may contact you separately should my low expectations for the council be fulfilled. Will report back. If anyone has done this via Greenwich council a PM on the experience would be most appreciated.

  • There is a Greenwich cyclist LCC group so worth while asking them. They have a yahoo groups thing.

  • Also inspired by this thread I had 2 hours cycle training by the highly recommended WiganWill on Saturday.
    I do a fair few miles commuting but wanted to iron out any bad habits and check that when I think I am doing the right thing, it is actually right!

    After a discussion regarding the width of car doors ("wide") and the benefits of looking behind you VERY regularly we set off for an excellent route around Sloane Square, Victoria, Park Lane and a few laps of every cyclists' nemesis: Hyde Park Corner.

    As expected his advice was extremely helpful and communicated with great examples and in real time as it happened (cars slowing for us as we clearly signalled our intentions, SUVs buzzing us, plenty of non-indicated left-turning at junctions etc...)

    I had plenty of key takeaways:
    Leave at least a car door's width beside parked cars ALL THE TIME.
    OWN THE LANE: take the middle of the lane at junctions. Don't let cars have the chance to squeeze past.
    Filter on the right when possible and leave plenty of room for U-turners, peds etc... Plus always have your escape route planned for when you need to pull back in.
    Signal with a flat hand don't point.

    Above all, MAKE EYE CONTACT: with drivers about to pull out on you onto the roundabout, with peds about to jaywalk, to drivers stopped at junctions, to drivers about to pull into your lane from the right... etc...

    I particularly enjoyed Will encouraging me to "make your angry face" while making eye contact with suicidal pedestrians. "The normal social rules don't apply; do everything to discourage them from endangering you (and them). Shout!"

    I was very pleased to discover that the zig-zags around crossings are fine for filtering (as long as you can see the crossing is clear of course) and that ignoring cycle lanes is often the best practice.

    Will's technique for looking behind me (don't turn your head but lean forward and to the side with a virtually horizontal head) has instantly allowed me to look properly not just glance backwards while holding a steady line. Really helpful.

    Overall I cannot recommend Will and cycle training enough. It is fun, informative and will make your riding smoother and safer. What is not to like?

    Will mentioned that 90% of trainees are women which is truly amazing given my experience of a far higher ratio of men vs. women on my commute.
    Swallow your pride chaps!

  • Thanks for that Walm. It was a pleasure to meet and ride with you.

  • Nice report Walm.
    More and more chaps are getting trained though still an issue with men who do think they know it (and many clearly do have stuff to learn as i observe blokes doing amazingly stupid things)

    It is difficult to pitch training in a way that men would agree to undatertake without their pride getting hurt. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    We use terms like Advanced Skills Training or faster Commuter training to help men deal with this

  • .

  • Re: signalling. I point (often at the spot in the lane where I want to go if there is a car in that lane behind me). I guess I should be "flatting" it. What's the reason behind this? More noticeable? Less likely to be confused with someone just pointing at something?


  • I've got 3 multis (this is my multtool prime)

  • Re: signalling. I point (often at the spot in the lane where I want to go if there is a car in that lane behind me). I guess I should be "flatting" it. What's the reason behind this? More noticeable? Less likely to be confused with someone just pointing at something?

    If youre accompanying that move with a look at the driver, and it works for you to let them know youre intention- then good.
    the flat vs point or other hand position we use simply as at distance it works better for visibility,
    your example I am guessing comes more from a situation where you are travelling simliar speeds to the traffic in adjacent lane.

  • Re: signalling. I point (often at the spot in the lane where I want to go if there is a car in that lane behind me). I guess I should be "flatting" it. What's the reason behind this? More noticeable? Less likely to be confused with someone just pointing at something?

    That's it mark. Not only is 90 degree "flatting" more noticable as you suggest, it's also the agreed convention

  • Cool. Figured.

  • And yeah, MF, my example is when travelling at the same speed as traffic and trying to get into a position in front of cars behind me in the other lane (usually trying to get across Great Eastern so I can cut into the Foundry and then across the ped and bike lights down pitfield, rather than waiting for the turning green onto Old St). That's when I most noticeably (in my memory) point at something specifically.

  • Nice report Walm.
    More and more chaps are getting trained though still an issue with men who do think they know it (and many clearly do have stuff to learn as i observe blokes doing amazingly stupid things)

    It is difficult to pitch training in a way that men would agree to undatertake without their pride getting hurt. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    We use terms like Advanced Skills Training or faster Commuter training to help men deal with this

    This is very interesting. 'Cycle Training' is an apt description, but it is likely to be off-putting to many men as we have egos getting in the way and learning to cycle is something that is associated with children.

    How is Cycle Training, or Advanced Skills/Faster Commuter training communicated? To be honest, I did it because I heard about it here and it's possible that I may have read something about it in one of the LCC magazines I receive and periodically read while sitting on the loo. Both of these are not typical cyclist behaviour (not referring to sitting on the loo but reading cycling forums and belonging to the LCC).

    I'm genuinely curious how this information is being disseminated. I would wager the vast majority on the road arm themselves with a folding bike and a hi-viz vest and hit the street without ever knowing such a thing exists.

    I work in advertising so I see this through that lens. You know your target audience, you know what they currently believe and you want to shift that perception so that they take action. What is currently being done to reach that audience?

  • If you're keen to help us with that marketing endeavour, Dale, we could certainly use your skills! Bit of a busman's holiday, but if you're up for it, get in touch ...

  • I worked in a shop for a bit as a mechanic and none of the shop floor staff seemed to be aware of cycle training. They had lots of new cyclists mainly, commuter cyclists, the riding part was usually brushed over which was a shame.

  • I'm willing to help out if I can. PM sent, Oliver.

  • You're right dale. It is a difficult sell and is almost self contradictory in that the whole thrust of marketing cycling per se is that it is a low risk activity that anyone can do. (so why do you need training?) Yet clearly training is beneficial and makes riding even lower risk, more fun and more efficient.

    We have always has issue with the images used to show cycling and cycle training, which historically has always shown people dressed like builders rarely near a road:

    and CTUK has always used images of people having fun on the road or clear simple messages as an antidote to the hi-viz helmet combo that shrieks danger

    I would say CTUK has been a succesful business and has managed to attract 1000s of people over the years who have undergone training. The largest numbers have been beginners or returning cyclists, many more women than men. This is changing at the moment and the that factors that got you training whether through London Cyclist magazine or this forum (where members are more likely to be blokes) demonstrates how things have moved.

    Training is all about giving people the confidence that they are allowed to ride in the middle of the lane when they need/want to and not be put off by a drivers beeping which is the audible symbol of our inbalanced unequal road hierachy.

    However the vast majority of people will not get trained. But if they see more (trained) people riding efficiently and fast through traffic riding in the middle of the lane then that position and way of riding will be legitimised and become the norm which may mean training will not be as necessary.

    Tommy: Point of sale training promotion is a good idea. many bike shops do have leaflets promoting training. Evans now has a cycle training in every store. More could be done here.

  • many more women than men.

    Is there any document out that document's this gender imbalance?

  • I've always loved the cover photo of my copy of Cyclecraft (late 1990's print).
    I think you should demand bike businesses to show images of empowered cyclists in their advertizing. Bit like some feminist groups give major shit to advertizers who fail to potray the image of an empowered female.

  • There are a few studies
    This off the top of my head (P 12)
    cycletraining.co.uk/resources­/CycleTrainingWorks.pdf

  • I have read the paper but somehow missed the chart. Thanks Skyman, just what I needed.

  • if only there was someone at CTUK who knew how to use a camera......

  • I worked in a shop for a bit as a mechanic

    Which bit were you paid, then? Was it new or just something you took off a bike you were working on?

  • You're right dale. It is a difficult sell and is almost self contradictory in that the whole thrust of marketing cycling per se is that it is a low risk activity that anyone can do. (so why do you need training?) Yet clearly training is beneficial and makes riding even lower risk, more fun and more efficient.

    To me, the point of cycle training is very simple--to increase enjoyment of cycling. Safety is, surprisingly, a red herring, as it is just a part of increased enjoyment to feel safe and to have good grounds to know that you are safe. This is obviously not meant to de-emphasise the importance of reducing crashes and injuries, but it is important to get the conceptual hierarchy the right way around.

    It's really simple--people don't do things they don't enjoy, or only do them if they're forced to. For every person who's convinced by cycling, there will be a strong factor of enjoyment there, and it's key to pass that on. I'm not talking about certain lifelong cyclists who have something we call 'cyclist inferiority syndrome' and who are basically cycling curmudgeons.

    How important cycle training is can be seen by this recent study, for instance. It shows that the majority of the time, cyclist injuries are caused by people falling off their bikes without any motor vehicle involved. This is because people's risk assessment mechanisms didn't work, and the emphasis of cycle training is of course to increase people's ability to accurately assess the risks that they incur.

    So, cycle training is basically spot-on and by far the most intelligent approach possible. I am certain of that and that over time it is going to bring about what I call 'generational change'. We won't be able to completely reverse the attitudes of the previous generation, who was very much a generation lost to cycling in this country, but we will be able to change the next generation's attitude and enable them to overcome the scaremongering that still exists (e.g. the helmet industry pushing helmets on to people) to consider cycling perfectly normal, like in a civilised country.

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Experiences of Cycle Training

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