By Tommy Noyes
“How did I learn to ride a bicycle? My big sister just told me to keep up with her friends and her if I wanted to ride around my neighborhood with them, and away we went! Either I kept up or I got left behind! That was the extent of my bicycle skills education.”
Does this sound like how you learned to ride a bicycle? It’s a story we hear again and again when we teach bicycling skills to adults.
Times have changed. While the Hawai‘i State Department of Health promotes bicycling as a fun way to exercise and the County of Kaua‘i features bicycling in planning for complete streets, the Hawai‘i State Department of Transportation recognizes bicycling as a desirable and efficient transportation mode that relieves traffic congestion.
Their common concern is that safety remains an issue as more and more of us ride our bicycles around our neighborhoods and communities.
Kaua‘i Path — a non-profit that promotes multi-use paths for safe and enjoyable bicycling and walking — recently was awarded a grant from the DOT to teach Bicycle Skills for Adults. The full eight-hour class will be held four times:
- Kaua‘i District Health Office, 3040 Umi Street, Lihu‘e
Feb. 21 and May 9
- Kapa‘a Library, 4-1464 Kuhio Highway, Kapa‘a
March 21 and July 18
- All classes are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Register for the classes at www.KauaiPath.org. Enrollment is limited, the curriculum is structured for ages 14 and up, and students should bring their own bicycle in good working condition and a helmet. Kaua‘i Path can loan bicycles and helmets to anybody who wants to take the class but cannot provide their own suitable equipment.
“We follow the League of American Bicyclists’ curriculum, and cover a broad range of safe and intelligent bicycling practices that your big sister probably skipped,” Dr. Randy Blake said.
Dr. Blake is a League Certified Instructor, has taught bicycling skills to hundreds of students and adults here on Kaua‘i, and is the president of Kaua‘i Path’s Board of Directors. Feedback from adults who have taken the class is consistently positive, both from tentative riders who learned why their bike has so many gears and how to shift them, to avid cyclists who are accustomed to frequently covering long distances on the road.
Bicycle Skills for Adults covers basic repairs like fixing a flat tire, the fundamentals of using your bicycle’s gears, adjusting your bicycle to fit your body, and how to avoid potentially hazardous conditions. A course is laid out in the parking lot to develop and refine bicycle-handling skills under the instructor’s supervision.
An additional component of the DOT’s grant is conducting a bike rodeo for keiki. Kaua‘i Path is partnering with Wilcox Memorial Hospital, and will hold the bike rodeo at Wilcox Hospital on Saturday, May 2. More details will be provided about the rodeo later, but adults who have successfully completed Bicycle Skills for Adults will be eligible to help as volunteers at the rodeo.
- Tommy Noyes works for the Hawai‘i State Department of Health’s Public Health Preparedness branch, serves on Kaua‘i Path’s board of directors, and is a League of American Bicyclists certified instructor.