Virtuous cycle: Three great free bike safety classes to take in July

bicycle roots

Learn to be safe while you ride at Bicycle Roots, (for free!) this month

If you hadn’t noticed, riding a bike is no longer just a cheap exercise option. What started out as a recreational trend has become the preferred method of transportation for thousands of Brooklynites due to its convenience and ease. The fact remains, however, that cycling in a city can be kind of terrifying, particularly if you are new to the streets. Luckily, Brooklyn has plenty of free bike safety classes, so take a look at a few of the best options for the month of July that will make you feel safe and secure in your (albeit hard, uncomfortable, and butt-numbing) bicycle seat.

Bike New York offers free Learn to Ride classes for both children and adults, with two classes for adults coming up in Williamsburg at 50 Kent on July 27 at 10am and 1pm. Over the course of two hours, students learn to balance, pedal, start, stop and steer.  As a bonus, the class also instructs how to properly adjust a helmet for the perfect fit, which is imperative to bicycle safety. Registration for the class is required, and there are only so many spots for each class, so register today.

Another free class offered by Bike New York is Bike Commuting 101. Cycling to work is becoming increasingly popular and offers a much better workout than riding the subway (unless you are using the  subway poles as your personal jungle gym for pull-ups, in which case your fellow passengers are not amused). Learn how to bike to work efficiently and safely, with an emphasis on safety, given that you wind up in rush hour traffic when you try to get to work. No riding takes place during this one hour class, but attendees leave with knowledge and surprise giveaways. Classes are offered at two locations in Brooklyn: Bicycle Roots, (609 Nostrand Avenue, Crown Heights) on July 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Red Lantern Bike Shop, (345 Myrtle Avenue, Fort Greene) on Thursday, July 31 at 7:30pm.

Bicycle Roots is also joining together with the Moms on Wheels branch of WE Bike NYC (Women’s Empowerment through Bicycles) for a free Street Skills class on Saturday, July 26 at 9:30am. This two hour general street skills presentation will conclude with a Biking with Kids Q & A lead by experienced biker moms who know how to have a good time while keeping their children safe in their bike seats (or trailers, or cargo holds, etc.). Please note this class is only open to women, female-identifying, and gender non-conforming individuals.  Registration not required.

If you’re looking for safe biking options or classes for a child between the ages of 10-17, Recycle-A-Bicycle’s youth programs, such as the Earn-A-Bike program and Kids Ride Club, deserve a look.

All of these organizations offer other classes year-round and usually free of cost.  These are just a few options to get you rolling!  In addition, the NYC Department of Transportation offers free helmets and helmet fittings, and while there are no Brooklyn events currently listed on their calendar, check back to see when you can score your free helmet to bike in style. You probably don’t need my mom to remind you that helmets are without a doubt the most important part of the bike safety process (but she will, also free of charge).

Whether you are jumping on your old trusty Schwinn, a pair of shiny new wheels, or logging mileage with a CitiBike, check out a class (or two, or three, or…).  Even experienced riders should brush up on their street skills from time to time. Ride safely!