Friday, August 18, 2006

Tulsa Public Schools and Road1

Tulsa Public Schools used grant money to buy 30 bicycles. They're starting
a program to introduce bicycling education in local schools. On Thursday,
we had a Road1 class at Lacy Park for the Phys Ed teachers. Gary Parker
taught the class. Tom Brown of Tom's Bicycles was there to help with
mechanicals. Sandra Crisp handled the organizing and registration, and I
was there to provide (dubious) moral support. Brian Potter arrived in the
afternoon to assist with the practical testing.

One minor problem - the bikes were not equipped with bottle cages or water
bottles. They really should be, particularly when we have a class on a hot
day.

My daughter needed the car, so I rode to the park. The Bianchi is handling
oddly, almost like it has a very low front tire. The headset bearings are
worn with the lower race showing significant brindling. That makes the bike
reluctant to turn. It handles like a pig compared to the Giant CFR. But
it's a comfortable pig with a Brooks saddle and a rise stem. This bike is
like an old easy chair. It's not meant for speed. I have a new headset in
my toolbox, waiting for a cooler day to install it, probably sometime next
month.

I rode through Mohawk and around the NW corner of the airport to Apache
Street, where I turned west. Since I'm old, slow, and fat, I arrived a bit
late, but I helped Tom Brown with bike and helmet fittings while Sandra took
care of registrations and Gary greeted the class.

Once the class was underway, I settled into a chair and promptly fell
asleep! Worse, I almost fell out of the chair. That would be more than a
little embarrassing. Tom and Sandra didn't seem to notice. But it's good
to know that I retained some habits from my school years.

The group consisted of PE teachers, with varying skill levels. One was an
African-American with her hair piled in braids atop her head, making helmet
fit difficult. Fortunately, she let them down so the helmet could fit
properly, though she was reluctant to do so. I'd never considered cultural
differences before in context of one of these classes, but this is something
we should keep in mind. Since they'll be teaching children, Gary emphasized
kids issues, like mid-block ride outs, helmet usage, hand brakes vs. coaster
brakes, etc. He let them know about the availability of Kids1 information
and that it's intended for both children and parents.

I left at mid-day in order to go to work, going back along Apache to the
airport, then circling around to the east side via Pine Street. This means
I nearly circumnavigated the airport! Yeah, it's a small thing, but I enjoy
little things like that.

Riding from Lacy Park to work was very hot. The sun was on the 'broil'
setting and I think the air temperature was around 100F. Sandra offered to
get me a sandwich, but I was pressed for time, and the idea of eating and
riding was not an enticing prospect. It just was too damned hot. So when I
arrived at work, I had a banana and some pretzels. That was enough to see
me through the afternoon. Well, that and several water bottles. I was
dehydrated.

I worked until 9PM. I'd had the foresight to check out my lights before I
needed them, and I was looking forward to the ride home. It was still very
hot - about 90F - but at least the sun was down. I had two minor scares on
the way home. First, I almost hit a HUGE dog. It simply appeared in front
of me along Mingo Road. And it truly was HUGE - about the size of an old
Buick...with tailfins! I yelled and dodged to the left. It dodged to the
right. Otherwise I may have been on the menu.

The other scare occurred right at the entrance to my subdivision. I was
planning to make a right turn into the neighborhood when a car pulled up at
the stop sign on the side street. I was riding north on the frontage road.
He turned south onto the frontage road IN MY LANE! Now, I've encountered my
share of idiot motorists, but I've never had one try to run into me head-on.
It had to be deliberate. I nearly ran off the road, but avoided the fool.
There wasn't time to get a tag number, but chances are he lives in my
neighborhood. One of my rules-of-thumb is "once an idiot - always an
idiot!" so there's a good chance I'll meet him again. That could become
another 'teachable moment' - until the cops arrive.

1 Comments:

Blogger Fritz said...

Excellent about the bike education at school thing. Did anybody take photos?

5:14 PM  

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