Cycle Response Training – Part 1

A few weekends ago, I attended a two-day course to become a Cycle Responder for the Organisation.  As promised, I’ve written a bit to describe the course.

The first day was pretty relaxed.  The obligatory introduction to a course. A quick bit on the various levels of Cycle Responder in the Organisation, and what the course would entail.  Designating a first aider for the course (a course for first aiders who are all at least trusted to use an AED, if not medical gases, and with a doctor also attending) caused a brief session of everyone volunteering everyone else. A quick reminder that if we came across anything while cycling around on the bright yellow, Organisation branded bikes, we would need to stop and help.  Then, on to the course.

Our instructor first had to take us out to a car park and get us to show that we could actually ride our bikes.  We had to demonstrate that we could ride without wobbling, signal and look over our shoulders without problems, and perform an emergency stop from a sprint without falling off (or shooting over the handlebars).

Next up was the low-speed manoeuvring.  As a Cycle Responder on duty, it is expected that we will spend most of our time on our bikes.  Unless we’re treating or stopping, we should aim to cycle everywhere.  This includes through crowds and behind people meandering down the pavement.  Constantly mounting and dismounting looks silly, and on a bike that’s a little on the tall side, is rather awkward.

To make sure we can do this safely, we have to demonstrate that we can handle the bikes at the speed of a slow walk.  This is a pain in the arse.  It involves gearing down as low as possible, and then peddling with the rear brake partially on to give a little resistance to work against.  Doing this, while remaining balanced, is hard.

The first unofficial test is what our instructor called the slow race.  A set of cones, spread out in a triangle shape, with everyone at the wide end.  The aim was to be the last person to reach the point, without stopping.  Chaos ensued as we all moved off to fast, slowed, wobbled, collided with each other, and generally tried to move slowly.  Needless to say, none of us did well.

Next, after much more practice moving slowly, came the 10 foot box.  More cones, this time arranged in a square with sides 10 feet long.  We had to enter the box, circle inside of it three times, and then cycle out, turn around, and do the reverse.

Picture, for a minute this box.  Now add in a bike.  A bike about 5 feet long.  With two heavy panniers on. This is not an easy manoeuvre.

We spent several hours on this, by which time we were all thoroughly bored, irritated and frustrated, but everyone pulled it off, to our unified relief.  Though, when we found out that this was a practice run, and we would be assessed on it tomorrow, we were far from impressed.

Then, after a bit of a talk on bike maintenance (mainly how to take a wheel off and repair a puncture), we were done for the day.  Tired, sunburnt, a still a little dizzy from the box, we headed home.

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About The WalkingPlasterDispenser

So who is the Walking Plaster Dispenser? Well, I'm a volunteer First Aider, working with a well-known First Aid charity to help out random people I've never met before (or, more usually, when) they hurt themselves. This typically involves walking briskly (never run...) around after people who are silly enough to do sports or some other suitably daft activity in their free time. In my spare time, I am a graduate engineer, working my way through a graduate scheme with a big engineering company.

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  1. Cycle Response Run « The Walking Plaster Dispenser - August 7, 2011

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