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Linn County Leader - Brookfield, MO
Walking and bicycling for transportation, fitness, and fun
Learning to Bicycle with Traffic
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About this blog
By Rachel Ruhlen

My bicycle is our second car. I love to bicycle in all weather, for all distances, and on all routes. Bicycling has brought so much joy to my life, and I want to share it with anyone who is interested. I will use my soapbox to tell you about the ...

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Bicycling and Walking Around

My bicycle is our second car. I love to bicycle in all weather, for all distances, and on all routes. Bicycling has brought so much joy to my life, and I want to share it with anyone who is interested. I will use my soapbox to tell you about the joys, the freedom, the benefits, and, yes, the challenges of bicycling and walking for transportation.

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By Rachel Ruhlen
March 24, 2013 3:27 p.m.



Over spring break Alex Tetlak and I taught “Bicycling with Traffic”. For a while I thought we might have to cancel, until one more person registered. As long as we have 2 students I am happy to teach it! And what great students they were. They both bicycle for transportation, so they want to know everything that we have to teach them, especially bicycle maintenance.

We taught the 9-hour class over three days: You know that warm spell we had? We missed it entirely. Every day we held class was cold! The first day was both cold and rainy. We hurried through our parking lot drills and went for a short ride, then warmed up in the classroom. On the ride we encountered a large puddle. I watched the students scan and move into the left lane to go around it, without prompting. Perfect!

The cold weather gave us opportunity to talk about how to dress. They had already discovered how easy it is to overheat, how cold your face gets, and that breathing cold air generates snot. The solutions are to wear layers, wear a balaclava or scarf, and tuck a hanky in your glove.

The second day was still cold but dry. Since class was in the evening, we turned on all our lights and did a night ride. We even practiced left turns on and off Baltimore. They handled it like pros.

Amanda (“In Your Own Backyard”) bought her bike less than a month ago and had ridden it to work a couple times. She is already fielding questions about bicycling from people who think she is an expert. She thought she had better pay attention in class so that she would have answers for them!

The last day, we reveled in the (comparatively) nice weather: gray and gloomy, but not quite as cold. The students aced the road test, scanning frequently and using assertive lane positioning to discourage right-hooks and left-hooks. They did well on the written test which provided a couple other learning moments.

Less than an hour after I got home from our last session, snowflakes began falling!

We’ll be teaching again the 2nd week of May. It’s likely to be warmer, but folks, this is Missouri. Whatever the weather brings, we’ll bike in it!

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