As expected, the generous offer of GMCC sponsored Bikeability cycle training from Ernie was met with utter apathy at work. I tried to corral a number of the regular cyclists into supporting the first training session but most were washing their hair or something. Only JP, who rode coast to coast with me in June, joined me for the training. As it turned out just 2 people was better than a larger number as the session was primarily practical, hands on stuff and riding as a big group would have compromised our behaviour as single riders. JP and I have similar levels of fitness, quantity of experience and a similar outlook on cycle commuting life being fairly assertive and road worldly wise.
I learnt plenty in the 60 minute session. Although I was already familiar with the concepts of filtering and taking primary rather than the secondary road positions, what the session gave me was an interactive opportunity to question the Cyclecraft advice and understand the thinking behind what is prescribed. We rode across the White City interchange between Chester Road and Trafford Road 3 times in each direction and as fairly confident riders we didn’t have any problems. In fact as JP knew the junction and the configuration of lanes so well, Ernie conceeded that he probably crossed the complex in a better and safer manner than he did initially. I realised that to ride safely in multi-lane commuter traffic the ability to change speed and match traffic at speeds up to 20 mph enables you to assert yourself and therefore make you safer. So maybe to cross this big junction, even following the appropriate line, you would need a certain level of fitness. Ernie advocated thinking of yourself as a car when in dangerous situations in order to claim a car sized space on the road and earn the respect of traffic around you. If you hug the kerb or hazards you are passing then you are less visible and are inviting traffic to try to overtake you.
I’ll give Ernie the feedback he wanted and ask JP to send some feedback to our CSR rep to enable her to promote a new year session. Hopefully it might attract a new rider or two to try it in order to improve their cyclecraft and give them more confidence when cycling to our office.