Adapting to the Pandemic
Instructors are testing how best to Zoom CyclingSavvy sessions and observe social distancing requirements for outdoor sessions.
Getting Rubber on the Road in Charlotte
During COVID, I’ve already taught a couple of full courses in Charlotte, North Carolina. There’s a resurgence of interest in biking and there are new riders every day.
I taught my first course since COVID on July 10-12, with precautions to reduce exposure as much as possible.
Truth & Techniques of Traffic Cycling is delivered online. Participants have told me they like this better. They report it’s much easier to enjoy this material from the comfort of their own homes.
I limit outdoor sessions to 10 students. Masks are required, with social distancing when possible. In North Carolina, as of this writing, group sizes are currently limited to 25 people outside and 10 people inside. While we are outside, I limit the group to the smaller size to be on the safe side. The only other change is to ride single-file vs. riding double-file, to socially distance as much as possible.
We find that classroom sessions work best with two instructors: one to give the presentation, and the other to monitor the chat window and manage discussion.
Due to the small class size in my courses, everyone chimed in with questions and everyone was engaged. “Truth & Techniques of Traffic Cycling” as I taught it lasted three full hours, in one session.
Live From St. Louis: Savvy Cycling Now
Instructor Karen Karabell is teaching online from St. Louis, Missouri. As an experiment last June, she asked friends to attend four one-hour sessions over the course of the month.
“Truth & Techniques of Traffic Cycling” contains a lot of information and ideas. Karen thought these would be easier for people to digest in a series of one-hour sessions, spread over four weeks.
Feedback from her friends was so gratifying that Karen asked our friend Serge Issakov to advertise a July series on two Facebook pages: Supporters of Full Lane Rights for Bicyclists and Bicyclists Belong in the Traffic Lane. Seventy-four people signed up! Fewer than half attended the sessions, though. (Research is clear that most people don’t value what they don’t pay for.)
ABEA Beta Testing
This August ABEA has been beta testing Savvy Cycling Now. One hundred and forty-five people signed up for this month’s free series. However, between 50 and 75 have shown up to the three sessions held so far this month.
This class size definitely requires two instructors — which makes the sessions better. Successful traffic cycling is as much an art as a science. Discussions are robust. The varying perspectives make for a gripping session.
Here’s a video clip from the August 11 session of Savvy Cycling Now:
In-Person vs. Virtual Instruction
With online instruction, interaction among students and instructors is less fluid, but there are also advantages. Nobody has to travel. Students participate from the comfort of their own homes, with easy access to a restroom and snacks.
People can sign up from anywhere. The three-hour session can be split up into shorter parts. Both Karen and I keep hearing from participants how valuable this information has been for them. We’re grateful to share it!
My Bike is a Lifeline
Bicycling is essential for my health and well-being, even more so now. Bicycling has been my solace during this socially distanced and stressful time. It’s the one thing that is mostly the same. When people started asking when they could take the in-person course again, that’s why I started scheduling more of them.
Stay Tuned — and Check Out Ride Awesome!
Expect ABEA to roll out a Covid-adapted program soon. Students will be able to take the classroom session online, and socially-distanced outdoor sessions with any instructor.
Ride Awesome! — CyclingSavvy’s premium online course — is … awesome. There’s truly nothing like it. During the pandemic, lifetime access to Ride Awesome! is half price. This is the best fifty bucks you’ll ever spend.
With enough requests, we should be able to offer on-bike sessions within driving distance for most U.S. participants (currently, only the United States has CyclingSavvy Instructors). Let us know if you want to complete the course. Contact us!