Driving your bike in traffic

Lots of new and returning cyclists fear riding the roads. Cars and trucks can be scary but hugging the gutter usually isn’t the best response. It just encourages drivers to pass within your lane (usually too squeezy) rather than change lanes and give you space.

Roads are some of the best cycling ‘infrastructure’ we have. They have a good surface, they’re well lit, well signed and they go to useful places.

And even if you just need to connect your off-road route while skills and confidence grow, it’s great to have choices and ride the roads with less stress.

Some councils, community groups and Cycling Victoria run free courses on riding skills, so they’re worth a look.

But for a quick primer on cycling in traffic, have a look at these videos from Los Angeles – not usually considered a cycling paradise. They’re based on skills collectively called vehicular cycling, championed by John Forrester in the book Effective Cycling, and were produced by the LA County Bike Coalition and the City of Long Beach.

Cyclist’s eye view – Driving your bike in traffic, parts 1, 2 and 3

So skill up and enjoy the freedom to choose. And for those of us who ride/drive on the left, just remember to switch left/right from the videos and you’re in business.

Bruise season

DDCX skills wrap-upYesterday saw my second episode of ‘cages on, cages off’ for the year – otherwise known as cx skills practice coming up to bruise season.

The Dirty Deeds Cyclocross gang ran a women’s skills session in April and a unisex session yesterday, with tips from the DDCX crew and Lewis Rattray (cx world cups and world champs). The sun was out and riders were happily playing in the park, refining dismounts, remounts, barrier clearing (mostly) and shouldering (hence cages off), followed by tyre pressure talk.

Of course bruise season also means it’s time to start buying lottery tickets again, in aid of a lighter, dedicated cross bike so I can leave the cages off most of the time.

Roll on cross season!