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tl-w.gif (842 bytes)tr-w.gif (841 bytes)Frank 'N Fred

In which Fred is invited to a Bike-Ed class.

Well, it's good to see that the weather is finally looking good out there, right Fred? I thought Spring would never get here!

You betcha, buddy. And man, I got some big plans this year. Me and that bike are going to do some big things! REALLY big!

No kidding? What have you got in mind, Fred? Some long rides? Some touring, maybe?

Well, I don't exactly want to say, I ain't exactly sure, you know, but I was thinking like some kind of new record. Not a world record, exactly, but more like a record for me, you know?

That's a good idea, Fred. I think it's nice to have a goal. It gets you out there having fun and getting in shape. But you don't want to say what you're shooting for?

Well, I'm gonna decide pretty soon. Maybe I'll shoot for 200 miles. That'd be a new record, and that'd be cool, you know?

Right ... 200 miles in... um...

You know, before the end of the year? I figure if I do a 40 mile ride to get in shape, and a few 60 mile rides, shoot, I'll have it!

Um...Well, Fred, you haven't been riding very much. Maybe it would be better to...

Or I can do one of those big rides they got each year. You know, they get a bunch of people riding like 50 miles each day? For a week? That might be even more than 200 miles!

Yes, it might be. But maybe you should think about this, Fred. You don't want to get in over your head. Wouldn't it be better to build up more gradually, and learn a bit more about biking while you're at it? Say, maybe a good goal would be to take a BikeEd course! It's based on John Forester's book Effective Cycling...

What? Did you say my cycling is defective? Listen, buddy...

No, no Fred, I didn't say that. What I mean is, there's a lot to learn about bicycling. It's not just how to balance, you know...

Are you making fun of my balancing?

No, what I meant was, to really enjoy biking, it's best to learn something about the gears, and the brakes, and fixing flats...

'Cause I hardly fall down any more.

... and what to eat and drink, and dealing with traffic, and riding in a group...

'Cause I got smart and put on training wheels. Wait a minute, what did you say about traffic??

Well, the BikeEd course will teach you how to handle traffic with confidence ...

Forget it, buddy, I ain't riding where there's cars. I could get killed!

Fred, don't be afraid! You can learn to deal with cars safely. And the fastest way to learn is to take the course! Really, it's fun!

So is this a college course or what? Is it like six months long or something? Because if I'm going to do that big ride thing, I don't have time anyway, see.

Actually, Fred, the first Road I course for adults is only about 10 or 12 hours long. Part is classroom stuff, but the better part is out on the bikes practicing. Really, it's fun!

So I guess you took this course once, huh? You must have had a good time.

Well, I'm into it a bit deeper than that. You see, I teach the course. I'm a League Certified Instructor, number 315, certified by the League of American Bicyclists. That's the national organization that puts the course together.

Whoo boy! No wonder you're always giving me advice! So this is going to teach me everything I need to know, huh?

Well, Fred, I'd prefer to say it gets you rolling - because there's always more to learn. But I think everybody should consider it, because it really is the best way to learn the basics of bicycling. Even people who have biked coast to coast have taken the class, and really liked it. Why not give it a shot?

Well, where's it going to be? It's free, right?

I'll give you the details in a minute. But anyone who wants to take a course can log onto the League's website at and go to the "Education" section. They can find out about instructors and courses in their own area. The courses aren't free, but they usually cost less than $50, and it's the best $50 you can spend on biking. It's a great way to get ready for your big ride!

Take this piece of paper, Fred. It's got the information to get you registered for class. I hope to see you there. And until then...

I know what you're going to say. Stay vertical, right? Well, now that I got my training wheels...

We'll have to talk about those, Fred.

- Frank Krygowski

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By Frank Krygowski











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