The Invisible or Utility Bicyclist: An Ignored Population

Tonight as I was out dutifully putting in some miles to finish up my yearly goal, I encountered a man stopped in East Austin, near downtown.  He was working on his bicycle, and observing the unwritten code of bike riders, I stopped to ask if I might help. He had a screw driver and was adjusting his rear reflector while enjoying an adult beverage.  He was also worried about his front light, which was red (illegal).  There wasn’t much I could do, but we chatted a bit.  He was friendly, perhaps due to the aforementioned drink.  He introduced himself as Tommy, I replied with my name, and he proferred an ungloved hand for me to shake in the cool temperatures.  He also said that he is homeless.  It got me thinking about the large number of people who ride bikes as transportation, but are not connected with bicycle advocacy organizations.  So here are a few thoughts. Continue reading

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Smart Cycling Complete Class in Austin, Texas

Early on Saturday I attended a 4-hour League of American Bicyclists Smart Cycling Complete Class.  Four other students and I assembled in a parking garage to learn how to teach people new to bicycling how to complete some standard drills.  But even an old dog like A Dude Abikes can learn new tricks.  And some of what we learned is stuff that we’d been doing unconsciously and, in some cases, incorrectly.  So here’s a little overview of the experience. Continue reading

Bike Austin City Cycling Class at REI

Roads:  They’re Not Just for Cars Anymore.

Who knew that the Texas Department of Transportation, the highway and toll road people sponsored classes for bicyclists?  They’re also for car drivers to learn how to respect the rules of the road and vulnerable road users, i.e., dudes and dudettes on bikes. So on Saturday I saddled up and sauntered slowly downtown despite my ongoing allergies or whatever they are to get a little knowledge dropped into my mountain cedar-induced feverish brain.  And I may have learned a thing or two.  It turns out that you can teach an old dude new tricks.  Not like, magic, or BMX, but you know, tricks. Continue reading