Over the past month my partner and I received CAN-BIKE 2 and CAN-BIKE instructor certification.
The CAN-BIKE 2 training, which we had wanted to take years ago but were unable to due it not being offered in Hamilton for many years, was held over 1 intense 3-day weekend in late October. Jihan had registered for it sometime in the early- or mid-90s, but due to limited enrollment (she had been the only one), it had been cancelled. This time, following interest both in the community and in the public health department, a national examiner was brought in to train 7 of us.
Despite the group being comprised of seasoned cyclists, with people's involvement in cycling ranging from sports (mountain biking, trials, triathlons, randonneuring) to utilitarian riding (commuting and cargo hauling), we learned a lot in these courses. I think we all agree that, no matter how experienced we were, we all acquired knowledge, skills and techniques to make us safer and ultimately better riders. I see CAN-BIKE 2 training essentially as the cycling equivalent of a good defensive driving course.
Class time was balanced very well with relevant outdoor instruction. We spent time after each block of in-class theory either practicing newly acquired techniques and skills in a school parking lot or through extensive rides through the city. These rides emphasized putting into practice the principles of vehicular cycling learned in class while armed with new skills and techniques to deal with various road and traffic conditions, including collision avoidance. The principles of vehicular cycling, based on and adapted from the work of John Forrester in the US, very much emphasize following the rules of the road and behaving as traffic. And as I've often pointed out, here and elsewhere, bicycles are vehicles under the law (Highway Traffic Act).
The CAN-BIKE instructor certification was held over two intense weekends and had us not only hone our skills and further practice the principles taught, but also learn about passing on what we've learned and will continue to practice. A significant portion of this course then involved practice teaching. We were each assigned modules from the curriculum materials (both theory and practical skills, classroom and outdoor) to teach our classmates.
I had my camera with me on the last day (as did Larry Strung, one of our classmates and a photographer) to capture some of the experience. Below is a selection of images from the practice teaching sessions.
Sid practice teaches signalling
While Hamilton now has some newly certified CAN-BIKE instructors--I happily among them--classes expect to be offered beginning sometime next spring or summer. I will of course be busy throughout winter riding Hamilton's streets with my cargo bikes, delivering goods for and between local businesses. I look forward to contributing to making Hamilton a safer and more cycle-friendly place both by teaching these courses as well as through continued advocacy.
Look for a post tomorrow on Hamilton's embarrassing storm/sewer drain problem....