October 2015 CyclingSavvy Irvine Recap

We had another great experience this past weekend teaching CyclingSavvy in Irvine with an outstanding group of students. Everyone came with a willingness to learn new techniques and problem-solving strategies and were willing to try them out on the road.  It really made our job as instructors easy. Every student came with a unique cycling history, some were new to road and club cycling, some were returning to cycling like we were several years ago, another was one of Jax Bicycles phenomenal staff members, others were bike commuters, and still others were cyclotourists. It was a wonderful mix.

With Cycling Savvy’s instructor ratio of five students to one instructor, and class sizes limited to ten per cohort, we have the time for personal attention, and the ability to teach complex traffic scenarios during class in a supportive environment.

Thanks to Lee Stebbins for volunteering to help out on Saturday as he gets ready to add Cycling Savvy Instructor to his list of cycling education credentials and to Jax Bicycles for graciously allowing us to use their Irvine shop for the “Truth & Techniques of Traffic Cycling” presentation.

Since we were in France this summer to ride the 100 Cols Tour and Paris-Brest-Paris, this was our first CyclingSavvy class since June and it filled quickly.

Fellow CyclingSavvy instructor Pete van Nuys, Executive Director of the Orange County Bicycle Coalition, and Greg will be leading the November CyclingSavvy class on November 12th (Truth & Techniques classroom portion) and November 14th (Train Your Bike! and Tour of Irvine, skills and road portion). Sign up for this class on the CyclingSavvy site.

If you would like to be notified about upcoming classes you can sign up for notifications in your area on the CyclingSavvy site.

Cycling Savvy Irvine Class, October 2015

We took some photos during the class, but not as many as we would have liked. You can view the entire set here.

Yes, you really can lean your bike hard in a high-speed turn, just don’t forget to keep the inside pedal up.

Brigette executes a flawless high-speed turn.

Danielle – emergency braking like a boss.

Mark carving a series of smooth, fast turns

Brigette negotiates a tricky section of roadway with ease and confidence.

Cycling Savvy in Irvine, June 19th & 20th

Greg Kline and Pete van Nuys

Greg Kline and Pete van Nuys

This Friday evening and Saturday I’ll be teaching a CyclingSavvy course in Irvine with Pete van Nuys, executive director of the Orange County Bicycle Coalition.

Register Here

This will be the first of our CyclingSavvy courses in Irvine and features a new route with new challenges and features. Unlike Santa Ana and Orange where we held our earlier classes, Irvine has an extensive network of bike lanes.

Continue reading “Cycling Savvy in Irvine, June 19th & 20th”

CyclingSavvy Course in Orange, April 24th and 25th

Register Here

We will be teaching our first CyclingSavvy course of 2015 on April 24th and 25th in Orange.

CyclingSavvy is a program of American Bicycling Education Association, Inc. (ABEA). The course teaches the principles of Mindful Bicycling:

  • empowerment to act as confident, equal road users;
  • strategies for safe, stress-free integrated cycling;
  • tools to read and problem-solve any traffic situation or road configuration.

The course is offered in three 3-hour components: a bike-handling session, a classroom session and an on-road tour. The classroom and bike-handling sessions may be taken individually, the road tour requires the other two as a pre-requisite.


Sample Lesson


The object of the course is not to turn people into road warriors. Being a confident, competent cyclist has nothing to do with speed or bravado. You don’t need either of those things to have access to the entire transportation grid.

Even most confident cyclists prefer to use quiet routes when feasible. In many cases, it is only an intimidating intersection or short stretch of busy road which hinders a cyclist’s preferred route. This course is designed to show students simple strategies to eliminate such barriers, and ride with ease and confidence in places they might never have thought possible.

The philosophy and intent of our course is best described in this quote by Aimee Mullins:

…all you really need is one person to show you the epiphany of your own power and you’re off. If you can hand somebody the key to their own power… the human spirit is so receptive… if you can do that and open a door for someone at a crucial moment… you are ‘educating’ them in the best sense. You’re teaching them to open doors for themselves. In fact, the exact meaning of the word “educate’ comes from the root word ‘educe.’ It means to bring forth what is within. To bring out potential.

The 3 Part Course
Our course is designed to be taken as individual sessions or as a complete course. Train Your Bike (bike handling) and Truth & Techniques (classroom session) can be taken individually in any order. To sign up for a Tour of Orange, you must have taken or be signed to take the other two classes prior to the tour class. Individual sessions are $30 per session. A package of three sessions (the full course) is $75. A package may be used to take the sessions at any time.


Train Your Bike! (3 hours):

This session is conducted in a parking lot. It consists of a set of progressive drills designed to increase students’ control and comfort handling their bikes in various situations. Drills include:

  • Start/Stop, Power Pedal & Balance Stop
  • Snail Race, Slow-speed Balance
  • Drag-race, Gears & Acceleration
  • Ride Straight, One-handed
  • Shoulder Check
  • Object-avoidance Handling, Weave, Snap
  • Turning: Slow-speed Tight Turns, High-speed cornering, Emergency Snap-turn
  • Emergency Braking

The Truth & Techniques of Traffic Cycling (3 hours):

Through guided discussion with video and animation, this session familiarizes students with bicycle-specific laws, traffic dynamics and problem-solving strategies. Students discover that bicycle drivers are equal road users, with the right and ability to control their space.

Tour of Orange* (3.5 hours):

This session is an experiential tour of the roads in the city of Orange. The course includes some of the most intimidating road features (intersections, interchanges, merges, etc.) a cyclist might find in his/her travels. The students travel as a group, stopping to survey and discuss each exercise location. After observing the feature, discussing the traffic dynamics and the best strategy for safe and easy passage, the students ride through individually and regroup at a nearby location.

* The Tour session is only available with the full course. The other two sessions may be taken á la carte, in any order.

More information
Origins & Principles of CyclingSavvy

CyclingSavvy_Flyer (PDF)

Register Here


OCW Traffic Skills 101 – Irvine CA, Spring 2015

Stacy and I are proud of our continued involvement with Orange County Wheelmen’s  cyclist training program. This year the commitment to safe cycling continued with our first Traffic Skills 101 training course of 2015.

Traffic Skills 101 is offered free of charge to all OCW members. To date 33% of current, active club members have completed the course, making Orange County Wheelmen the leader in bicycle safety and training.

In the Traffic Skills 101 class we teach essential cycling knowledge and skills:

  • Bicycle Laws in California
  • Bicycle Safety Checks
  • Flat Repair
  • Bike Handling
  • Crash Avoidance Skills
  • Riding safely and legally in traffic

Thanks to our co-instructors Kevin Ansel, Ximena Ansel, Paul D’aquanni, Robert Neiuber, and Lee Stebbins.

Congratulations to our newest TS101 Graduates and to all Orange County Wheelmen who have completed Traffic Skills 101 training.

OCW Spring 2015 TS101 graduates and instructors

How to avoid being right-hooked

A right hook can occur in either of two ways: a motorist overtakes a bicyclist and turns right, or a bicyclist overtakes on the right of a waiting motor vehicle which turns right. That’s bad news, but the good news is that you can take charge of your own safety.

– John Allen


One of the key concepts that Stacy & I try to convey in the Traffic Skills 101 and Cycling Savvy courses we teach is the idea of “Situational Awareness” – the ability to recognize what is happening around you and to assess and correctly respond to a dangerous situation as it develops.

Here’s one example of a dangerous situation that can lead to a crash. This type of crash happens often enough that it has a name, the “right hook”.


In this case the fault was the motorist’s.  This right hook occurred in Texas, and Texas (like most states) requires a motor vehicle to merge with cyclists and turn from the right edge of the roadway.

Bike lanes and lanes wide enough to share side-by-side with motor vehicles are more likely to lead to a right-hook. Be aware of the dangers posed by riding to the right of potentially right-turning traffic.

Preventing right-hooks is better than reacting to them. Position yourself so that you are out of the danger zone:

  • Do not pass to the right of a right-turning vehicle.
  • Merge into a position of lane control as you approach an intersection.

Recognize the warning signs that a right-hook situation is developing:

  • Motorist pulling up next to or passing a cyclist, then slowing down.
  • A turn signal is an obvious sign, but they aren’t always used.

If you are right hooked, use learned evasive maneuvers and advanced bike handling skills:

Remember, it’s always better to prevent than to react to dangerous situations. Keri Caffrey has produced a great video that shows how to prevent right-hooks:

Right Hook Prevention in Bike Lanes from Keri Caffrey on Vimeo.