The biggest benefit of having my wife ride is learning that I actually know something about cycling and, more amazingly, that I can teach it. I had a conversation with my friend Nancy Linn the other day, she of the PV Bike Chicks, and we talked about doing a basic skills clinic for a small group of riders. The PV Bike Chicks have been riding on the Hill for almost a decade now, and they are a great example of cyclists who are also wonderful members of the community.
Seven members of the “Early Bird” crew showed up at Malaga Cove Plaza and we dropped down to the parking lot by the church to start our clinic. Our goal was to work on one aspect of riding that Yasuko and I have been working on together, riding even-wheeled or, put negatively, “not half-wheeling.”
Half-wheeling is endemic to cycling; you’d be amazed how few people have ever even heard of it, let alone know what it is, and that includes a lot of “racers.” Yet riding even-wheeled is a critical component of good cycling skills because it teaches a whole bunch of mission-critical skills in a single activity. Even-wheeled riding means:
- You are forced to use peripheral vision to keep track of your neighbor’s wheel.
- You are forced to pay attention to someone other than yourself.
- You are forced to develop the skills of making micro, fine adjustments to position and line.
- You are forced to ride closer.
- You are forced to improve your reaction time.
We practiced for about an hour and the results were stupendous. My students learned a lot, but as any teacher will tell you, the mark of a good lesson is whether the teacher learned at least as much as the students.
I did! And to make matters even better, when we finished they graciously gave me a coffee gift card. I think that’s what they call #winning.
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