Monday, 17 May 2010

Teaching to cycle or drive

I ride a bicycle.  In fact, I ride a bicycle quite a lot.  If you have read my other blog you will be aware that I ride my bicycle sometimes for long distances and on roads that are quite busy and sometimes have lots of scary traffic on them.  In addition, everybody in our household also rides a bicycle and we rather enjoy it.
Last weekend, we went shopping to Tesco in the car.  Not unremarkable, it happens most weekends.  And, in common with many weekends we got home and said "bugger, just look at all this stuff we forgot to buy".  Totally undeterred, I decided to link the idea of riding my bicycle with collecting the other stuff from Tesco.  My daughter, Victoria (aged 9) came with me on her very funky, recently acquired 1980s proper girls pink Raleigh 'racer'.  Being quite the demon cyclist, it seemed appropriate to give her a little coaching on going round roundabouts so I chose the one that leads on to Tesco at Quedgeley as it isn't terribly busy and the exit before ours is a bit blocked because of the traffic lights holding up the traffic.  We take the proper approved Highway Code route for the learner or nervous cyclist, round the outside, only to be cut up by a woman (yes, really, I'm not just being sexist) going nowhere into the stopped exit.  We took evasive action, there was no drama but I did suggest to the lady that she ought to look where she was going.  She retorted "You should be wearing a helmet".
Now, I do own a helmet.  It is 15 years old and immaculate.  I don't want to do the whole helmet argument here except to say that until that moment, I was firmly with the no to helmet legislation camp.  I have now learnt my lesson.  There I was thinking they were a pretty useless lump of polystyrene but no.  I have learnt the error of my ways.   This woman has taught me a valuable lesson.  They are - Harry Potter eat your heart out- a reverse invisibility cloak.  She couldn't see me without one.
This could have so many ramifications.  Imagine those times when you are stood at the bar for hours waiting to be served, you must be invisible - wear your cycle helmet, the bar staff will now see you no doubt.  Although the bouncers may see you first.

In other news, I am still learning to teach people to drive.  I have now had some 24 hours tuition with my instructor (and now Facebook friend) Dave.  Dave obviously isn't invisible.  He has a whole digital TV channel named after him.  The training is invaluable.  I need forty hours before I am allowed to apply for my trainee instructor licence and start teaching but without this excellent tuition I would be stuffed.  Dave is a good chap and an excellent tutor, we do have a similar sense of humour, possibly borne out of a common geekiness.  The training, make no bones about it, is hard work.   Don't think you could go to a training company, pay your fee and be an instructor, it just won't work.  I think I have forgotten or at least take more for granted about how to drive than I could have known before a couple of weeks ago. 
All this talk of invisibility puts me in mind of one of my instructing faux pas.  I will say "Be aware" or "mind out for" that pedestrian.  To Johnny learner one needs to be far more explicit "Be ready to slow, stop or change direction for the pedestrian in case they walk into the road"
My instructor goes to great lengths to point out that you can be 'aware' of aforementioned pedestrian as they bounce off your bonnet, the roof and land in a heap behind you.  Still, it's their own fault.  They should wear a helmet so we, the motorist, can see them.

Next time you are doing a three point turn or reversing into a parking space, try and pretend you are teaching someone that has never tried it before.  Still, hopefully, watch this space, we should be up and running soon enough so, if you're after some high quality driving instruction it shouldn't be long now.

1 comment:

  1. I am definitely going to try wearing my cycle helmet in the pub - it will probably enjoy getting out as it gets so few opportunities to go out with me on an actual bicycle!