KALW Bike Week: A Skeptic Takes a Class in Big City Biking

Email a Friend

KALW's Julie Caine overcomes her fear of speeding cars and messy helmet hair in this audio essay. Listen as Caine gets a lesson in urban cycling. Not a proverbial lesson, but a literal one, while attending a class in urban biking offered around downtown Oakland. The East Bay Bike Coalition teaches free classes in cycling safety and etiquette on the city streets funded entirely by sales taxes.

Click to listen:

Some of the lesson are pretty basic--like checking your brakes before heading out to ride--but as Caine learns on the road, there are some behavior strategies that can increase her sense of comfort and reduce her chance of being hit, like being visible and predictable on the road.  Some other safety tips advanced cyclists might know are covered too like how to 'take a lane' when it is too narrow for both cars and cyclists.

A few interesting bike facts spill out along the way like that the vast majority of bike crashes don't involve cars or pedestrians, just the cyclists falling over on their own.

Bonus: credit to Ben Trefny KALW's executive news editor who is the first voice you hear in this audio. He's out of breath because he hosted the entire Crosscurrents program on cycling in the Bay Area while riding his bike 23 miles around town.

Read Caine's full thoughts on the class at KALW.