Over the last two weeks I have been training to become a Cycle Instructor with Cycle Training UK in Bermondsey. They teach the National Standards Cycling Scheme which allows coaches to instruct adults and children about safer bicycle riding in busy urban environments.
Its been a fascinating process. As I've been bike commuting in London for over 7 years, and do lots of riding generally, I thought I knew all the places to be in the road to make me safe. However, myself and everyone else on the course learnt so much about safety techniques that we had not even considered before.
I feel much safer and stronger on the roads now and I've even had some drivers smile at me through good communication skills and politeness!
I'm still very cautious but my awareness has increased and now I'd like to pass on to others the advice and tips I got from the course.
Feel free to drop in and chat to me about safe urban cycling. Maybe you've had an incident when cycling, or you simply want to discuss what easy approaches can lessen the chance of damage or injury.
We're also considering more formal training; based on the 3 Bikeability levels starting with one-to-one lessons.
The first level isn't just for newcomers to city cycling. It's appropriate for anybody who feels a little insecure riding on busy city streets. For example, if you are uncertain whether cars are beeping at you, how to command the road a little better during busy traffic periods or how to navigate narrow roads. If you'd like a little individual help we can go over some simple bike handling skills and the basics of safety in a quiet area.
For level two we explain traffic priority, road position and good communication skills. All monitored in a safe road environment to let you familiarize yourselves with the new techniques and principles.
Finally for those already with good cycling skills, level three covers larger multi lane junctions, roundabouts and difficult intersections. It doesn't guarantee you won't have an incident on the road, but it can really help reduce the likelihood of one and let you cycle safer and happier to your destination.
Happy Cycling Everyone.