Cycling Safety and Education
Post retirement I’ve found myself drawn into cycling coaching. I coach youth in the OBC’s Youth Development Program. I’m a Cycling Canada CanBike instructor, and I teach riding skills, traffic safety, and ride leading to adults.
It’s true that the best way to learn something well is to teach it to someone else. It forces me to reflect deeply on what I think I know. This is especially true of coaching. By approaching coaching with humility and a passion for the subject, I find I’m always learning and growing.
And, to quote from an articles in this series:
“Given the amount of time I spend on a bike, I recognize there is a significant probability that my cycling career, or even my life, could end as a result of a serious cycling accident”. As a cyclist, the risk of injury requiring hospital treatment (per km travelled) is significantly greater than when in a motor vehicle. The more you cycle, the greater the risk
So maybe it’s not surprising that my biggest area of growth in the last five years has been in riding skills and traffic safety. I’ve learned so much through coaching and listening to experts. I now ride very differently from a few years ago.
I help out with the Safety and Education program at the Kanata Nepean Bicycle Club (I’m an active member in three local cycling clubs). As part of that role, I started a “Safety and Education blog on the KNBC Members website. But I realized that many of the articles would be useful to a wider audience, so I’ve started posting them here.
Keep in Mind
Everyone has their own perspectives and biases, so before you dive into this series, you should be aware of mine:
- Acceptance of Risk - Everyone was their own perceptions of risk and “draw the line” in different places. I try to find all reasonable ways to minimize a risk, while still participating to the fullest in my sport. For example, I like to descend fast… I’m thrilled if I can hit 80KPH on a descent. But I wear a helmet, make careful mechanical checks of my bike before every ride, careful check my tires and replace them regularly, and will slow down if I don’t know the descent well, or can’t see around a turn. I have no problem riding on busy road in traffic, but I don’t find that fun, and I don’t commute anymore, so I try to avoid them
- Not trying to win a World Tour Race - I don’t pour over Formula 1 technology to decide what car to buy. And while what World Tour Riders are using is interesting it has only a peripheral applicability to much of the riding recreational and sportif cyclists do. Many of the finer points of cycling technology make such a small difference that we will never notice them on our rides (Really… you just think you notice! The Placebo Effect and Marginal Gains ) I’m concerned about what really can make a difference to me.