Finding our way
The best journey starts with an idea of where we are going. We have new technology that helps us view maps from our phones. Yet we have not yet perfected the art of discovering the advantages of one route over another by bicycle.
We learn how to find our way by experience. A car can drive a route rapidly and over and over again rapidly and at relatively low costs a bicyclist needs a little help given the distances and many unknowns to any given place. In figuring out how to get from point A to point B by bicycle it takes a bit more work. Why? primarily because routes and road signs are designed for the automobile. Many road signs help the motorist. Very few signs are designed to help a person on a bicycle figure out how to get anywhere.
It takes skills, learned over time, to get through barriers presented on even the shortest route. I found that I had to learn how to interpret maps, signs, and landmarks. I also had to reconfigure, in my mind, the routes from what I had learned as a motorist.
Our experience helps to identify a route and its risks thus increasing the likely hood of getting somewhere on a bicycle. Learning a route takes three internalized points of reference and some tools.
Points of reference
1- Familiarity with the terrain – The routes terrain and whether it goes through a lovely park or an industrial site all effect the quality of the ride.
2 – Road conditions – Routes take one through various road and traffic conditions. Naturally time of day can impact traffic. For example riding next to a high school as the bell rinds can have its own challenges
3 – Other bicyclists – There is safety in numbers. Motorists are much more aware of bicycles in areas where bicyclists ride regularly. Intersections and through streets are a bit more calm and again enjoyable. They also are opportunities to socialize and find help when it is needed.
Like using a car there are various tasks to accomplish on a bicycle.
1- Recreation or sports
2- Work or School
All take some planning and experience to get the full enjoyment of using a bike. Big Bike rides take some extra help but is worth every moment used to plan and take part in a bike tour. There are various tour companies. We like to believe we can customize a tour that combines education and leadership building as part of the experience. Something about being active helps the brain work efficient and stay focused. Naturally there is a great appeal to the emotions. Beauty and simplicity add to the great prayer experienced while riding through parks or accross country.
- Our goal is to provide education and experience in an integrated curriculum. We engage the student in cognitive and experiencial learning. Along the way we provide encouragement. We reinforce the lessons learned about bike safety and function. But we believe we need to go beyond that. We need to make the experience interesting.
- Urban and rural studies are opportunities to continue the class room on two wheels. As the participant experiences the environment (sight, sound, Smell, and context) they gain sensory data to go with the book learned materials.
- When do we go? We are ready to test a couple of rides this summer. From here we will introduce the road trip building course to students. Including planning, skill building, trouble shooting, and the trip itself.