The Swedes are good for more than just delish meatballs, lingonberries, and glögg. Club Global has published a manual from their “Cycling for Everyone” program. It’s available in both English and Swedish.
Much like the League of American Bicyclists’ Traffic Skills 101 curriculum, the “Cycling for Everyone” course is designed for use with adults. One difference is that TS101 is intended for individuals who already know how to ride a bicycle (the mechanics) who want to learn more effective practice of cycling, and the “Cycling for Everyone” addresses adults who have never learned to cycle, or who have been off the bike so long they need a refresher.
The published manual is intended for instructors of cycling more than it is for students of cycling. There are a number of interesting passages in the manual, but this in particular struck me given my recent musings on fear and safety:
Despite everything we read in road safety campaigns, it is important to remember one thing – cycling is not dangerous. Obviously, make sure the bike lessons take place in a safe manner. We hope this goes without saying, but to teach an adult to ride a bike is not a high risk activity. Its not like teaching parachuting or deep sea diving. In all probability the biggest obstacle for the prospective cyclist is their own fear. You should definitely not start the course by citing fear-provoking examples of how dangerous it can be to cycle. That would be downright counter
Right now, the “Cycling for Everyone” program is in its infancy in Sweden, but it may serve as an interesting model for advocates in the United States looking to reach immigrant populations and other underrepresented groups in which many children and adults may never have learned the basic skills of bicycling – let alone rules of the road or other niceties of effective cycling courses.
Photo by Dave Glad, via Flickr