Saturday, April 28, 2012
Mad Traffic Skillz
Today was the second Saturday of Traffic Skills class, taught through the auspices of the League of American Bicyclists. I was one of the instructors, and we had the rare opportunity to have our class do their qualifying ride in sleet, steady rain and 40F temperatures. Yeah, I tell you, those who last week laughed at my RainLegs assless bike chaps were singing a different tune by the time we got back in today! Anyway, congratulations to Erik, Daria, Roy, Courtney, Andy, Nate, Ruby, Jeff, Sheldon, Scott & Jay for completing the course and doing the skills riding and road evaluation in conditions approaching those I consider the worst for riding or camping (33 and rain). For some of these folks, last week and this were the first time they'd really ridden in traffic. Doing it in cold, windy, wet conditions showed that it is possible, though not exactly a picnic, to operate in adverse weather. After class was done, and after downing a major burrito and beer at The Muddy Pig, I met Vickie, a woman from work, to take her on a 20 mile loop around Saint Paul. She's relatively new to cycling and has started commuting once a week. This doesn't sound much, but she's just part time and it's 15 miles one way, a pretty serious commute. Vickie's discovered she likes cycling and has signed up to do a 60 mile ride in early June, and asked if I'd ride with her through the the Saint Paul loop. I barely made it on time due to the Muddy Pig's indifferent service. Sadly, I hadn't brought along any dry socks, and my wet shoes and socks kept my feet chilly, but we did the circuit. No rain now, and it had warmed up to 46. It's encouraging, in a quiet way, to have these folks interested in enhancing their riding skills, to have someone discover the joy of riding, to see a group learn directly that it is possible and not even that bad to ride in shitty conditions. It's also a quiet satisfaction to stop by the Trung Nam bakery for a chocolate croissant on the pre-ride, checking out the circuit before the class, and to hang out afterwards with the other instructors and several students at the Muddy Pig while the rain slowed and stopped outside. I didn't get much else done this rainy Saturday, but am pleased with what I did achieve.