Q&A with a Learn to Ride student
Learn to Ride student Bintou shares her thoughts on learning to ride a bike through Cascade's education program
What inspired you to take a Learn to Ride class at Cascade?
I actually decided to take the Learn to Ride class because I was interested in getting a motorcycle endorsement. It had been a really long time since I had ridden anything on two wheels so I wanted to refresh my skills with a bicycle first. I learned to ride a bike pretty late in life; I was a college sophomore when one of my buddies taught me one summer so I could bike from my off-campus apartment to my classes. I hadn’t ridden since that summer, so I knew I had forgotten how. I took the Learn to Ride class at the start of July (July 7 to be exact). After taking the class, I remembered how much fun it is to ride a bicycle around, so I bought a new bike a week later and I’ve been riding about once a week ever since.
How was the process of actually learning for you? Had you tried before? Was anything easier/harder/scarier/weirder than you thought it would be?
Since I had learned to ride a bike in the past, it was a lot easier to learn this time around. I was able to figure out how to get going much faster, but there were some bike handling skills I had never learned that I was able to work on with Amy [Korver, the instructor and Cascade's education coordinator]. For example, I was having trouble controlling my turning and also mounting the bike with the saddle set at the proper height since my feet couldn’t touch the ground. She was also able to point out things I couldn’t see, like how tense my shoulders and arms were. Once I relaxed them, riding became so much easier!
How cool is Amy, the Learn to Ride instructor?
Amy is super cool!! She is perhaps one of the best people for the job because it’s obvious how much she herself enjoys riding and she’s super patient with lots of good tips to help make riding less frightening.
How has your day-to-day changed? Do you ride to work now? Or elsewhere? Has it boosted confidence in other ways?
I mostly ride on the weekends, but my ability has improved so much since that first class. I feel much more confident on the bike and I hope to eventually be comfortable enough in traffic alone to be able to commute to work.
What other Cascade programs have you tried?
The Free Group Rides have been a tremendous resource for me. I do a group ride almost every Saturday morning. I don’t lead them, just participate in them. I have gained group riding skills as well as general tips and tricks that have improved my confidence on the bike from more experienced riders in the group. Furthermore, some of the group rides lead us on routes that I could potentially take to work, so that has also been extremely helpful.
Do you have any other biking goals?
My only major biking goal is to be able to take part in Cascade’s RSVP ride. I don’t know if I’ll have built the endurance to do it this year, but hopefully in the near future!