class tips

Tips on Conducting a Bike Winter Classclass poster


Here are some issues to think about, whether you are doing a large presentation or having an informal chat with co-workers. Click here for a sample power point presentation (warning--large file)

CONTENT/BIG IDEAS: What's most important and what are the helpful details? Organize those details around your few key ideas and make sure those ideas are explicit. When I have done BW classes, my main ideas are usually:

  • The weather is not as bad as you might think (bring in weather stats, such as only 35% of days having a LOW below 21 degrees, and anecdotes about streets being cleared faster than sidewalks).
  • There are so many benefits to biking year round (mental health, money, never getting a sore bottom again from being out of the saddle, etc.)
  • It’s easy and fun! For beginners, I focus on layering, protecting the extremities ("buy shoes one size to big to allow for warm socks and wiggle room" has been a great tip for me), maintenance, bike handling, and transit options. I don't give every detail. After all, a lot of info is on the BW site and Chainlink; we don’t want to make winter biking seem overly complicated.

 AUDIENCE: It helps to get a sense of what your audience knows up front so 1) you tailor your info to them and 2) you see who the other experts are so you can turn to them for chiming in. I like starting BW classes with a group brainstorm: "What's the best thing about biking in the winter?" With our crowd, there are  always plenty of winter cyclists who can seed the discussion. If you don't get a lot of responses,  that means you are getting ready to do some important Bike Winter missionary work!! ;-) Another good opener is to simply ask what people want to know about winter cycling. The problem with this approach is that it can drag on. . .if you decide to do it, set a time limit and make sure people know they can participate throughout the presentation.

ENGAGEMENT: People learn best when they are engaged. When planning your event, think about different ways to share information. What content can be conveyed through a story? Through demonstrations? Through audience participation*? Basically, basically try to avoid the dreaded talking head for an hour syndrome. The wackier and more creative you can be, the better. Bike Winter is perfect for hyperbole.

WHAT NEXT/GET INVOLVED: Announce upcoming events to give even more reasons to get on a bike.  Also, if you have not already, be sure to talk a bit about how Bike Winter is an all volunteer effort. Donations (now tax deductable through Break the Gridlock) and participation are always welcome!

FREE STUFF: It gives people some of the tools they need, it’s a lovely thing to do, and it might just guilt someone into winter biking ;-) Lube is always good, as are smart wool socks, gaitors, lights,  reflective tape, Dave’s book, etc.

*WARNING: There can be such a thing as chiming in too much. Some audience experts might want to “chime in” for 15 minutes on their pet issue. In this case, remember, you are the one responsible for the show, and the needs of the many are sometimes more important than the needs of the one. It's fine to say, "OK thanks, we have a lot of material to cover. If folks want more info, can they talk to you afterwards or get the info on the bike winter site?" The other participants will thank you.

Bike Winter How and Why_Kilgore.ppt6.42 MB

How I dress for -13

Today it got down to -13, but I still had errands to run! Who needs cold? This link goes to my run-down of what I wore on my bike ride today: