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Safety first

A pair of bicycling enthusiasts are again offering a free course on Saturday aimed at keeping cyclists safe and sound while pedaling on two wheels around Kauai. 

Tommy Noyes and Randy Blake, both veteran cyclists and certified instructors through the League of American Bicyclists, will team up to teach the “Bicycling Skills for Adults” class at the Kapaa library, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

There is still room for more.

“We want to demystify some of the concerns people have about going out on the roads with a bike,” Noyes said.

And of those concerns for cyclists, the one at the top is fear of vehicles.

“They’re scared of cars,” Noyes said. “That’s a very healthy concern.”

There are four keys to being a smart bicyclist and staying safe while biking. They are: being predictable, being alert, being assertive and being visible.

“If you embody those four in your riding, you are going to avoid hazards,” Noyes said.

He said the worst thing a bicyclist can do is weave in and out of traffic and be unpredictable. Instead, make it easy for motorists by holding your course, wear bright clothing and clearly signal lane changes.

The class will teach emergency maneuvers, how to handle a bike, etiquette and what to wear while biking.

The course will also cover bike maintenance to be sure brakes, chains and gears are functioning properly. There will be lessons on how to change tires and be sure they are inflated correctly. Bike seats need to be adjusted for the size of the rider. Supplies and accessories will be reviewed, too.

Another part of the course is to encourage people to use bikes for utility purposes, such as a quick trip to the store or visiting a neighbor instead of using a vehicle.

Noyes and Blake have been offering the free course since 2010 and teach it several times each year. About 100 people have gone through it and learned “how to use a bicycle with confidence and competence for pleasure, utility and sports under various highway, climate, terrain and traffic conditions.”

“What we find is the aware cyclist is going to avoid hazards,” Noyes said.

Noyes and Blake are also leading a bike ride from Lihue to the South Shore and back starting at 8 a.m. Sunday. It is a distance of about 30 miles. The ride will start at the park next to the Department of Water in Lihue, head to Poipu Beach Park via Nawiliwili and Alekoko Fish Pond and then back via Omao Road and Kaumualii Highway. Nobody will be left behind, Noyes said. A potluck will follow.

To register for the class, go to www.kauaipath.org, or call 639-1018.

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