I didn't expect to have so much fun helping bring Share the Road messages to bunch riders in Dunedin
From brainstorming in the classroom, through bantering with the other cyclists, to biking along the bay in the sunshine, it was a really enjoyable day.
Amy, Foggy and Sean of Cycling NZ had assembled a varied crew of keen club riders, cycle skills instructors and cycling fans for the workshop, held in and around Otago Polytechnic, where the cafe brews a surprisingly good short black. Richard Barter and I were there to give a Share the Road Blind Zone Workshop as part of the day. (Continued below)
Hearing support and encouragement about how to motivate and run a cycling group was a great start. When we'd had just long enough in the classroom to think about the Adventure, Wellbeing and Enjoyment groups get from bunch riding it was out to the bikes for practical lessons in how bunches can be co-ordinated to ride more smoothly and safely.
Richard ran a couple of quick fun exercises to raise awareness of the challenges truck drivers face in monitoring their surroundings. Keeping the workshop active and moving, he outlined the three Share the Road safety principles -Bike Control; Being Seen, and Choosing Safe Routes- for the Leaders to pass on to their groups. (Continued below)
Riding round Dunedin with Sean and Foggy we learnt a lot about setting a culture and tone for riding groups, about communicating and safety aspects of being in a bunch. It's not easy to bring a group of cyclists through a complex road junction or set of pinch points, so it was good to hear well-honed techniques for setting up the group and preparing for real-life situations. It was also good to reinforce the knowledge from Cycle Skills and our Cycling Confidence workshops- one universal tip is how cyclists improve their experience by making themselves visible to other road users with hand signals, good positioning away from the kerb and eye contact with other road users.
There were plenty of smiles when we took turns as 'Ride Leader' and tried to keep Foggy's teenaged alter ego from being a disrupting influence. The professionalism and enthusiasm of the guys from Cycling NZ kept us all interested and engaged, and the format of short rides with stops for discussion is a great way to learn. (Continued below).
It's suprising what you can learn even after decades of using a bike, and this workshop was a great reminder of that.
The Ride Leader programme is run by Cycling NZ- hop over to their website and get in touch with Amy to arrange one.