Siskiyou Velo Offers Skill Classes
November 28, 2012
By Cailey Nickerson
Siskiyou Velo, a cycling club and advocacy group in southern Oregon, is now offering free on-road cycling skills and etiquette classes to its members in an effort to promote safe bicycling and grow its enrollment.
The club membership costs only $15 per year for individuals, $20 for families and $25 for businesses, and it includes a 10% discount on merchandise in supporting shops, access to club rides, and cycling classes, which would otherwise cost up to $70 elsewhere.
Classes are taught at three different levels: basic cycling skills in traffic for those newer to riding, intermediate group clinics, and ride leader training. Students learn first in a classroom setting, before practicing their new skills in parking lots and eventually, out on the road.
“We have the two-pronged safety concerns of riding etiquette/skills and infrastructure development, [for] more user friendly bike lanes and paths,” says Buck Eichler, Siskiyou Velo’s advocacy officer.
Certified League of American Bicyclists (LAB) instructors teach the courses, and each level is offered once in a five-week period. Eichler says every class instructed this past August reached capacity. To accommodate the increasing demand, several Siskiyou Velo members signed up for the League Cycling Instructors course, bringing a fresh crop of qualified teachers to the region.
Paul Gagnon, president of Siskiyou Velo, wrote in the club’s newsletter that even the very experienced could benefit from instruction.
“I found the classes I took reinforced my sense of safe riding and also gave me insight into new ways to ‘drive’ my bike, especially at intersections. If you haven’t taken a class, do think about taking one.”
The club encourages students to enroll in classes appropriate to their skill level. A novice cyclist, for example, will be poorly equipped for the ride leader session, which focuses on managing a group. Riding speed and distance ability are not prerequisites.
According to the course description page, the effort to spread education to the cycling community is already proving to be a success.
“...graduates are sharing their new found knowledge and skills with members who have yet to take a course. The education and training effort has become viral.”
Class schedules, information on rides, events and advocacy efforts in the area can be found at siskiyouvelo.org.
Printed article can be found in the winter issue of Bicycle Paper.
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