So physical ability has never been my thing. I can kick ass academically, be at least moderately creative, and cook enough to eat quite well. But gym class? Well, let’s just saw I was the last one picked for teams. Always. Well, I guess unless we include lesser known sports like bocce ball and laser tag, and most people don’t.
When I bought a bike this summer I was excited about it, but about 99% sure I would fall off early and often. So far that hasn’t happened…so far. And actually, I love riding. Mostly when it’s a flat surface, but still.
I also think it’d be fair to say I am a rule follower and like to plan out anything unknown. If I can’t study it, read about it, practice it by myself, you’re not likely to find me doing it in public. Which is why I almost exclusively ride on the trails. Riding on the street with cars, other bikers, etc., is just a little too intimidating.
But I would like to do it. The bike trail is great for fun, but unfortunately the grocery store, library, etc., are not conveniently located directly off of the trail. If I want to ride my bike to these places, and I do, I will have to ride on the street.
Enter community education class Traffic Skills 101.
The class was awesome. We learned basic bike maintenance including how to change a flat, hazard/crash avoidance, and how to cycle in traffic. It was one of those things where I wanted to do it, was excited to do it, but really had to push myself, as I was generally terrified to show up at each class. The fear was mostly about doing bike maneuvers in front of other people, which turned out to not be quite as terrible as I thought. Sure, I was the least skilled person there, but no one laughed out loud which helped. The instructor was also really nice and helpful.
And today we did a road ride. Again, much anxiety about being able to keep up with everyone, etc., but mostly unfounded, with the exception of a couple of not giant hills (still kicked my ass). What was awesome was learning how to negotiate traffic in Sioux Falls. The map below shows our path, through some major intersections in town. I can’t say I want to bike those streets any more than necessary, but I would feel a lot more comfortable doing so if I needed to.