So today despite the mercury topping 39.2 between 10:30am to around 1pm I took part in a community bike ride run by my local council as part of the SA Health OPAL project.
Last year at work a group of researchers came to interview and test a year level of students. It was known as OPAL testing and I was curious what OPAL stood for.
Turns out it’s a obesity prevention and lifestyle program with the aim of being healthy now and for life. SA Health is working with a number of local council’s focusing on cycling and other health initiatives. A top idea as I’m back on my bicycle after many years off it.
The council is putting on a number of community rides and on-road skills rides. If you don’t have your own bike they can provide one and a helmet for use. They provide water, sunscreen and lunch, all for free!
The rides are conducted by Ride-a-bike-right
I’ve done a couple of big rides but my knowledge of the basics is still lacking, plus my on road confidence is severely lacking. So I took the opportunity to get back to basics and it’s amazing what you can learn if your prepared to sit back and learn.
Being made aware of your surroundings and how to scan behind you, change lanes and take corners is important. My mountain bike has shocks on the front and while I thought they were adjustable I had no idea how to do that. It was also explained to me what changing them would do. The helmet I have is quite a few years old and there was a time when I couldn’t do up the chin strap. Now I’ve gone the other way the the helmet wasn’t adjusted correctly, glad to have that sorted.
After a brief introduction and chat we headed out to the carkpark and went through some basic skills. The instructors needed to make sure everyone could be safe as the majority of the ride was on street. Most of the people in the group hadn’t ridden a bike for many years and so they really were nervous. Really friendly institutors with a good sense of humour always helps.
Once everyone passed the basic skills test we headed out. By this time the air temperature was in the mid 30s so the ride was scaled down.
We headed to Centro Kurralta to access how cycle friendly it was and it was fairly good.
After that we headed back and had lunch and a de-brief. While the session was very much aimed at beginners I’m sure most people as I did came away with something. I’m not professing to be an expert but I’m probably a little more advanced than most of the group. That said it was very worthwhile going as I did get a lot out of it.
The session today covered the most basic of cycling skills, something that every cyclist will use on a daily bases and while you may not realise it. Knowing and using these basic skills will help keep everyone on the road safe, which is very important.
I’ve signed up for the on-road skills session next week, hopefully the weather will be a littler kinder 🙂