Ready to Ride? Arlington Offers Cyclist Education
Arlington’s cyclists – new and experienced – have lots of options to learn and improve their cycling skills.
While cycling can be a very simple pleasure – get on and go – there’s much more to cycling safely in an environment like Arlington. Understanding the rules of the road, integrating with other traffic on busy roads, and even making it up the hill from Rosslyn – there’s much to learn for the new cyclist. For the existing cyclist, there’s always more to learn – when it’s appropriate to “take the lane." where to position yourself when riding around a blind corner, or even what “sharrows” indicate. Thankfully, there are plenty of opportunities in Arlington for cyclists to improve their skills and understanding.
Arlington County, in partnership with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), offers very low-cost ($10) classes aimed at new and intermediate cyclists. They are based on the “Learn to Ride” and “Traffic Skills 101” curriculum developed by the League of American Bicyclists. These classes take place throughout the spring and summer, and involve a portion of self-study (online, at home) and skills practice. From the Bike Arlington site:
[Confident City Cycling 1] is a 2-hour basic skills class and [Confident City Cycling 2] is a 4-hour vehicular cycling and avoidance maneuver class. Both types of class involve in-class and on-bike elements. In addition to these, BikeArlington and WABA also offer a 3-hour [Learn to Ride] class for non-riding adults who want to learn how. All classes are taught by instructors certified through the League of American Bicyclists League Cycling Instructor program.
The 2011 schedule for these classes will soon be posted at Bike Arlington’s site. Similar classes are also offered by WABA at Alexandria and D.C. locations (prices may be different, and some are residents-only). WABA’s education information can be found here. (Note that some classes are youth-focused.)
For those looking for more advanced classes, or who can’t find something on the WABA schedule that fits their calendars, Allen Muchnick, a long time Arlington cycling advocate, offers classes through Arlington’s Adult Continuing Education program. He also offers bicycle maintenance classes (through the same link).
Of course, formal classes aren’t the only way to learn more about cycling, but they’re a great opportunity to meet fellow cyclists, get different perspectives on common problems, and learn from experienced instructors. Thankfully, it’s cheap and easy in Arlington, so there’s no reason to miss out.