Prepping for Bike to Work Day

This week is Bike to Work Week, and I’ll be a poseur riding along with Austin’s community of bicycle commuters this coming Friday, Bike to Work Day.

I’ve got an old beater Diamondback hand-me-down whose only frequent tasks have been getting me safely to my favorite neighborhood haunt Polvos and Zilker park, neither of which is more than a mile from home. Still, after reaching my destination, particularly the park, where I tend to travel down Barton Springs Road and have to cross Lamar, my nerves are in hyper-mode. I’m–at best–a bike novice, and frankly cars freak me out. I’ve never attempted to ride my bike during rush hours before.

So, I have some challenges to overcome to effectively commute to work. Fortunately, there are some great resources I (and anyone else who may be a little tentative) can take advantage of this week.

The downtown REI is hosting a free class tomorrow night, Bike Commuting 101, beginning at 7 p.m.

My main concern is finding the safest route to take (but one that doesn’t add a ton of extra miles to the trip), and that is one of the topics covered in the REI class. I’ve also discovered the city’s Bike Route Map which should be helpful.

Staff from the city’s Bicycle Program will teach a bicycle handling drills class this Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Butler Park (by Palmer Events Center). I don’t think I can make that one, but it looks good–basic starting/stopping techniques. See more of the city’s Bike Month events from their Web site.

Finally, for a little incentive to get moving, a bunch of organizations will be providing free breakfast for cyclists on Friday morning (7 – 9 a.m.). Check out a mapped list of locations courtesy of the Austin Cycling Association. Incidentally, the ACA teaches a Traffic Skills 101 class that includes a half-day of classroom instruction and then a half-day of on-bike training.

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