This past weekend, I had the opportunity to do a beginners cycling clinic for a group of woman here in Fort Collins. The weather cooperated perfectly with warm days, dry roads and gentle breezes. During the 2 1/2 days the main focus was on improving their bike handling skills along with being more comfortable when seated on the bike. By using a combination of lecture, focussing on proper biomechanics/bike fit and a variety of riding drills in an empty school parking lot, they soon were ready to take to the roads for more. Riding in traffic in a small bike lane or no bike lane, can be both frightening and intimidating, but by practicing their new skills they did just fine. The last day culminated with a short climb and descent of the south dam at Horsetooth Reservoir.
All of these woman made a choice to learn something new. This required them to get out of their comfort zone in order to get the most out of the experience. For some that meant taking a hand off the handle bar, or shifting gears. For others, riding with a group of people both in front, beside and behind you was a whole new experience. I would be safe in saying that it was probably more mentally fatiguing than physically as we did cover a lot of information.
So, get out on your bike as the days get longer, take a few minutes each ride, even if you are an experienced rider and just work on a few basic skills. Or better yet, if you are experienced and you see a beginner struggling, extend yourself and offer a little help. We all started with training wheels at one time and last time I checked, put on our cycling shorts one leg at a time too!
Keep the rubber side down,