learning not to swerve, etc

microcord

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Aug 28, 2012
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#1
In brief: Are there any recommendable classes in lower-intermediate cycling skills?

Mrs Microcord is less interested in cycling than I am, but when she does it with me I don't think she does it merely as a (bizarre) wifely duty. We're just 3km or so from Tamagawa (near the estuary end). We can go downstream, which is scenic but an obstacle course (baseball-playing kids balancing bags and bats on bikes three sizes too big for them, etc), or upstream, which I have to concede is pretty boring for at least the first 20km or so. Or of course we can ride along roads. But she doesn't like roads, not least because she perceives them as dangerous. And when I see her cycling along them (just on the way to and from Tamagawa), I do indeed think she's at risk of being clipped by a wing mirror, or worse. She swerves. Not violently, but unnecessarily, excessively, and (to anyone other than me) unpredictably.

Can somebody be taught/trained not to swerve? Has anyone heard of classes that give training in this kind of thing?
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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#3
Yes it is something that can be taught, but as Bloaker says it comes with confidence and also road awareness skill, Im guessing she is also a gutter rider?
 

kiwisimon

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#5
Getting her out with other riders so she can see how it's done. Find two or three mates willing to spend a few hours of leisurely riding and put her in the middle of the group, (group, not a paceline) there is safety in numbers, choosing which roads to ride on will also help. Having advice from a non-spouse is much more efficient than from a spouse.
 

microcord

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Aug 28, 2012
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#8
Thank you, all. Yes, I minimize the advice I give. I don't think she looks downward; if she did, I think she'd crash into people and cars. And (even when not swerving outward) she's not really a gutter person.

What I try to remember to do is stay close behind, but (consistently) further to the right than I'd normally be, so that when she swerves to the right she's pretty much right in front of me. But I tend to forget to do this.

Going out within a group sounds a good idea: maybe some modest "Half Fast" run that we could join on its way -- and for which we wouldn't have to go to Roppongi (to which she'd never dare venture).
 
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Sep 2, 2009
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#9
I had to hand out a bollocking (for her own good) yesterday.

Not once, but twice, she did that thing 'they' do; turned left onto a main road, seemingly without looking as a vehicle went past.

First time, it was a massive truck that had to slam on the brakes. I facepalmed.

Second time, it was some big SUV which rightly honked its horn. I had had enough by this point and shouted something to vocalise my rage at my fellow cyclists stupidity. The SUV driver thought I was shouting at them, which made things messy.

Obviously I got the blame for everything.
 

microcord

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#10
I have to admit, when I turn left while I'm exhausted I tend to somehow forget that my own green traffic light doesn't also license me to whiz through any pedestrian crossing that may be on the road I turn into. At least once I glimpsed a woman with a horrified expression pulling a kid out of my way, thought "Why's she looking at me in that way?", and then immediately "Whoa, I just ran a pedestrian crossing and almost hit a family." So when tired I should be doubly careful (and also use the non-SPD, platform side of my pedals).

Incidentally, I'm repeatedly impressed by the contrast between the decency of the drivers of indecent SUVs and the fcuk-you attitude of drivers of Priuses. Small and maybe unrepresentative sample, of course, but I've learned to be particularly wary of Priuses waiting at side-streets to turn left onto the bigger roads along which I'm cycling. And of course this is quite aside from their creepy silence when coming up behind one. (Not that I'd ever encourage anyone within 150km of Tokyo -- or almost anyone elsewhere -- to buy or drive a SUV.)
 
May 22, 2007
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halffastcycling.com
#11
I'm repeatedly impressed by the contrast between the decency of the drivers of indecent SUVs and the fcuk-you attitude of drivers of Priuses.
It's a documented phenomenon: put a perfectly sensible person behind the wheel of a Prius and they turn into a Prius Driver - obsessed with fuel economy and thus unwilling to press the pedal on the right if they can help it. (I know our own joewein owns a Prius, but he cycles more than he drives and I've never observed him drive so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now.)

Meanwhile - you're (both) of course welcome on any HF rides, with the caveat that if you bring Frau Microcord on a non-beginner ride, such as our Tamagawa loop, and she can't do the distance then you take responsibility for getting her home. We will finish at Roppongi anyway... even if you don't start there.
 
May 22, 2007
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#12
Here's an idea for practicing together. Many new riders tend to leave their change of vector until the last second, rather than confidently taking a new line and telegraphing "this is my line now".

This often occurs because they are not sure what's behind them, and then when they look round at the last second they swerve because their hand pulls back on the bar on the side they are checking.

First off: Recognise what 50m looks like from the seat of a bicycle! At 25 km/h that's the distance from an obstacle where the 'check, signal, manoeuvre' sequence should be starting.

Next: Shoulder check practice.

The aim is to keep riding straight. Instructor rides 5m behind on a parallel course but a meter to the right. Every ten seconds, the instructor shouts "How many fingers?" and the student has to give the right answer without changing their line.

If they cannot do a shoulder check without pulling on the bars and swerving, the student should practice removing their right hand from the bars for at least five seconds at a time. Then practice the shoulder check with one hand off.

Now add a hand signal: "I intend to move to the right or turn right". Signal should be at least two seconds. Arm straight out from the shoulder; fingers together; palm facing forwards to give the maximum visible surface area*.

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Practice the sequence: Shoulder check (1s). Signal (2s). Once the student can do all this while riding in a straight line, then we can move on to manoeuvring. This is the easy part. Take 2s to move to the new line. Not 'as quick as possible'. Two seconds.

The rider should aim to complete the sequence and move into their new line at least three full seconds before they pass the obstruction. At 25km/h that's 21m. Add another 21m for the shoulder check and signal. That's 42m. Call it 50m in case it's not safe to manoeuvre and braking is needed.

Repeat on the left!

*I do not suggest using the American 'right turn', signalled with the left arm in semi-high-five position. No normal person would understand.
 
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kiwisimon

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#14
What I do with my son and daughters, I lead by about 5-10 meters . They follow my lines (thus not looking down)and they observe how I check for obstacles and control my speed and positioning, I also shout out what I am doing. I feel like a **** talking about what I'm doing and pointing out the obvious but it's all about setting the example and reasoning why. Just like any motorcycle instruction course they lead and the student follows. They have mirrors and I have a neck and eyeballs to check on their positioning. Now that my 9 yr old can (a) ride straight and unwaveringly (b) brake smoothly, I let him lead and it's amazing to see him do the checks for cars at intersections and driveways, we don't ride on the sidewalk, That's a killing zone. Last year he had me spinning out on my SS while he got up to over 40kph on a downwind stretch of 4 lane highway. If you go out with halfarsed make it a shorter ride than the group is doing and only if she says so do more extend it. Nothing like trying to coax an exhausted rider home as things start cooling down in the late afternoon to test patience and kill the motivation of a beginner.
 

bloaker

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#15
Another nice thing about Half-Fast rides....

Most routes are on Strava. You can look at them before you go and eye train stations along the way (if you have a rinko bag).
Ride as far and long as you want, then bail. Just be sure to let someone know so there is no search party looking for you!!!

Also - if you have a GPS, you can download the route and ride it yourself to check it out for traffic and any other obstacles to help you prepare mentally for the ride.
The less worries you have, the more attention you can pay to enjoying the ride and helping her enjoy the ride.
 
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kiwisimon

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Dec 14, 2006
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#16
Another nice thing about Half-Fast rides....

The less worries you have, the more attention you can pay to enjoying the ride and helping her enjoy the ride.
I would say on a group ride let her enjoy the group and get the hell away for most of it, you can check on her at the stops. Not having the "other half" around reduces the stress a lot>
 

bloaker

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Nov 14, 2011
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#17
yes - very true. I suppose I was not clear....

'You can look at them before you go and eye train stations along the way (if you have a rinko bag).'
'if you have a GPS, you can download the route and ride it yourself to check it out for traffic and any other obstacles to help you prepare mentally for the ride.'
'The less worries you have, the more attention you can pay to enjoying the ride and helping her enjoy the ride.'

The 'You' I was referring to was microcord.
Helping her - would be letting her know he has ridden it, it is safe and what to expect so both can relax.

I do not disagree what anything you (kiwisimon) have posted - just adding that Microcord can himself test it out knowing his wife's skills.
 
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Sep 2, 2009
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#20
Trivia; The Mitsubishi Pajero is the only imported car that Norwich Union Direct will insure. I know that from when I used to be a top flight underground electronica producer supplementing his income by working in a call centre. Halcyon days.