The heart of the program consists of workshops, learning rides, and one-on-one coaching for employees. We work with employers to design a custom package that gives employees what they need to incorporate bike commuting into their routine.
A typical training series begins with one or several classroom-style workshops. Every workshop includes practical tips and opportunities for hands-on learning, with clothing and gear, current-model bikes, and other “touch and feel” items. Participants are sent away with clear, concise handouts that outline the key points from each workshop. Participants also receive a packet of useful coupons and brochures to help them get started with bike commuting.
Learning rides are an essential complement to the workshops. Participants are taken on a guided ride on streets or roads that would be typical of their ride to work. The ride leader narrates the ride, verbalizing the internal decisions that an experienced rider makes on an ongoing basis. The ride ends with a question-and-answer session.
The final key piece in bike commuter training for employees is one-on-one coaching. Commuting by bike for the first time can be a big leap for many people. Our customized program of phone and email support and guidance prepares each participant for his or her first ride, helping with gear selection, route planning, and picking of a date for a first ride. For a very modest flat fee per employee, we guarantee that each participant will take the crucial step of actually making a first commute by bike.
One-on-one coaching is FREE for Chittenden County organizations!
The specific content of our workshops, learning rides, and one-on- one coaching is tailored to the needs and interests of participants. Typical topics include the following:
Modern bikes for modern commuters. Things have changed quite a bit since that old ten-speed in the back of your garage was made. In this module, a representative from one of the region's bike shops will provide an overview of innovations in bike technology, with a focus on both how to shop for a commuter bike as well as how to retrofit an existing bike to optimize it for commuting. Several current models will be on hand for participants to check out, all with a focus on bikes that work well for commuters.
Dressing for Success. Dressing right is key, but it doesn't have to be expensive (and no Lycra is required!). In this module, an expert in outdoor gear will discuss how to stay dry and comfortable while commuting. There will be samples of the latest gear, but the focus will be more on principles than on "stuff." What do you need to have with you in case the weather changes? When does it make sense to ride in work clothes, and when should you plan on changing when you get to work instead? How do you transport work clothes so they arrive looking fresh?
Operational Basics. The first principle of enjoying your commute is, "Know Your Bike." In this module, a veteran bike commuter will walk participants through the essentials of making your bike work for you. Topics covered will include proper adjustment of the seat and handlebars for efficiency and comfort, principles of shifting that maximize power while minimizing risk of injury, and how to brake effectively while maintaining control.
Essential Gear. A little bit of gear can go a long way towards making a commute safe and fun. In this module, the instructor will show how to fit a helmet, discuss what to look for in bike lights, demonstrate different options for fenders and panniers, and more. The focus will be on choosing gear and accessories so as to maximize safety and comfort while minimizing cost.
Route Planning. Every route to work is different, and not all are equally amenable to bike commuting. In this module, a longtime bike commuter will review basic principles for finding your best route, as well as demonstrate online mapping resources that are useful for identifying possible routes. The module will also include a troubleshooting session in which the instructor will work with individual participants to help them identify possible routes from their home to their work.
Multimodal Options. Bike commuting isn't an all-or-nothing proposition. In this module, the instructor will discuss how bike commuters can extend their range by driving or taking the bus part way to work with their bike on the rack, then riding the rest of the way in. In addition, the instructor will explain how services like Go Vermont's "guaranteed ride home" can give people the backup they need to make bike commuting a regular part of their routine.
Safe Cycling 101. This is the starting point for people who need to begin with the basics. In this module, a bike safety instructor will lead a discussion on how to apply the three core principles of safe cycling -- awareness, visibility, and assertiveness -- in a variety of situations. The instructor will also walk participants through a basic but thorough safety check that every rider should perform every time they get on a bike.
Safe Cycling 102. Safe cycling is all about negotiation. In this module, the instructor will explain and demonstrate three of the key skills all bike riders need if they are to "negotiate" successfully with cars for space on the road. We will start with a quick review of signaling, followed by a discussion of how to shift lanes safely and smoothly. We'll end with an in-depth look at how to navigate intersections, with different options presented for riders of different skill levels.
Safe Cycling 103. Sometimes things go wrong. In this module, the instructor will focus on crashes and why they happen as well as strategies for minimizing the risk of a crash. We'll cover hazard avoidance, emergency maneuvering, and more. We'll end with a quick reality check by reviewing the statistics on how seldom crashes actually occur.