Cycle safety classes | Lesson review
After six months of cycling around London employing the tactic of ‘jump the red light, pedal as fast as possible, and hope for the best’, cycle training was starting to sound like a good idea.
After a simple process of filling in a couple of forms and declaring that I study in Southwark I find myself standing outside Brixton station looking for my instructor, Craig.
Our lesson starts off cycling around back streets to get the basics right. Craig is quick to spot my complete lack of knowledge when it comes to gears, and informs me that if I use them properly I’ll never arrive anywhere sweaty and out of breath again.
Craig tells me to cycle out of the ‘door zone’, where many cyclists are injured as a result of people opening car doors unexpectedly. I’m in the middle of the road with a car revving its engine behind me.
It is far from comfortable at first, but he claims that if you give yourself more room, overtaking drivers will give you more room too – this soon proves to be correct.
The best thing about this one-to-one lesson is that it can be tailored to suit individual concerns, so I reveal my fear of filtering through traffic to get to the front at red lights – after a wing mirror-clipping incident and countless instances of becoming sandwiched between buses and lorries, I am less than confident.
Craig assures me that it’s fine not to filter; stressing it should only be undertaken very slowly, and never where buses and heavy goods vehicles are involved.
We finish in Camberwell, with Craig asking that I recommend him to my friends, because the more cyclists who know what they’re doing on the roads, the safer they will be for everyone.
UAL initiatives: Bike safety checks 9-11am; cycling instruction sessions 1-3pm: Outside LCC on November 30.