By Bruce Lierman

Ride a bike for transportation?

“It’s too scary”

“I don’t want to be in the way”

“I haven’t ridden a bike in years”

These are typical responses if you ask a person at random if they would consider riding a bike for transportation around town, for errands, or for exercise.

RiseVT and CyclingSavvy, the cyclist training program developed by the American Bicycle Education Association and taught in cities nationwide, collaborated to bring CyclingSavvy to Bennington, Vermont. CyclingSavvy helps students understand that successful cycling depends much more on awareness, knowledge, and strategies than on speed, strength, and bravery.

With RiseVT’s sponsorship, 20 people attended to introductory classroom session, then a subgroup of those signed up for the on-bike sessions; a 3-hour skills-building session in a parking lot at Southern Vermont Medical Center, then an on-road tour of progressively more challenging roadway situations where students can apply their new understanding of traffic to real-life situations.

The most significant difference between CyclingSavvy and other bicycle education programs is CyclingSavvy focuses on giving riders not only information and skills, but confidence and support through a group setting and a progressive curriculum. CyclingSavvy graduates become long-term users and advocates for human-powered transportation and active living.

This made for a great complementary effort for both RiseVT and CyclingSavvy. We look forward to continued cooperation to produce comments like these from our graduates:

“I know so much more now”

“I can do this!”

“I forgot how much I love riding a bike”