On April 5 and 6, the Farmington Valley Trails Council hosted a Smart Cycling class, bringing board members and the general public together for a weekend of fun and learning. Smart Cycling is a class offered by the League of American Bicyclists that teaches participants all of the rules, techniques, and tools needed to feel confident riding their bikes in traffic.

Barbara Collins, FVTC President, attended the course and shared her experiences. “I was one of the lucky ones who signed up for the Smart Cycling class,” she said. “I have been riding for years. Slow and steady is how I would describe my style – definitely not a risk taker, especially when riding on roads. I love riding trails because there are no cars, but know trails are the exception, not the rule to riding locations. I signed up to get a refresher on safety practices. I thought I pretty much knew it all but I was wrong! I had several bad habits and learned better and safer ways to ride in traffic especially at intersections and on busy roads. This is a great course that I highly recommend.”

John Crisley also attended. “I loved the section on lane positioning. When I talk about safe cycling with friends and family, I start by talking about this,” he said. “I was also impressed by the number of instructors that participated. They all added something to the course.”
To meet the needs of riders at all levels, the Smart Cycling class combines content from Traffic Skills 101, Traffic Skills 201, Group Riding and Commuting. It covers topics including choosing a bicycle, bike part basics, important equipment, and how to ride your bike in all traffic conditions, terrains, and climates safely and comfortably. Participants complete four hours of classroom instruction (that can either be done via Zoom at https://learn.bikeleague.org/ or in person) and five hours of on-bike learning. You can find classroom and on-bike sessions at the League of American Bicyclists’ Connect Locally Map here: https://bikeleague.org/map/. The League Store has the Smart Cycle Manual as well as other videos and guides meant to bolster your learning.

For younger children, there is a program called Bicycling Skills 123. It is a two-hour course with 13 stations designed to teach children better bike handling skills. Signup information can be found at the Connect Locally map here: https://bikeleague.org/map/.
We hope you will consider taking a class near you soon!