October 8th, 2019
Smart Trips Austin and Ghisallo Cycling Initiative hosted two beginning city clinics for people to gain confidence and get comfortable riding in Austin. Many people learn to ride a bike as a kid, but not everyone learns the rules of the road nor hand and verbal signaling. Our clinic is designed to equip you with the skills to bike safely and confidentially on the city streets and trails.
Let’s break it down. To kick-off the class, we have tacos and coffees for people to enjoy and fuel up as they meet other participants. We check over bikes and pump up tires to ensure they are in good riding condition. If you don’t have a bike or helmet, we’ll bring them for you to use for the morning – at no charge.
Now that everyone is awake and eager to get started, let’s begin. After a helmet fitting overview and bike ABCD Quick Check, we begin an on-course portion before hitting the streets to practice starting, stopping, turning, signaling to road users, scanning for cars/pedestrians, and riding in a group.
OK, ready to roll! After a short break, everyone is warmed up and we go over the route which includes biking – all together – on neighborhood streets, trails, and protected bikeways. This portion of the clinic is a chance to test your new skills such as safe passing, staying clear of the door zone, where to position yourself on the road and shifting gears depending on the slope of the road.
Our first clinic had 10 participants, ages ranging from early 20s to early 70s. One participant finished our clinic and got herself a bike helmet that same week. When we asked participants what did they find most valuable, one replied, “the instructors’ approach-ability!”
Our second clinic had 14 participants and we emphasized the importance of hand signals in this round given some of the participants were deaf or hearing impaired. One participant commented, “I loved getting to ride on the roads and trail. I felt it was a good way to apply what we learned.” Everyone felt pretty accomplished after cycling in our city on a calm weekend morning. Check out a video of our ride here – for a number of riders, this was their first ride on the road!
Would you like to be able to bike around your neighborhood, to a coffee shop, to play Frisbee at a park, or even to work on a cool Autumn morning? Whether you want to ride on your own, with a partner, or a group, this clinic will prepare you for all options. Clinics are free and open to the public. Our next beginning cycling clinic is on Saturday, November 2nd at Eastside Memorial High School.