"My confidence grows with each ride" - Tracy's Streetwise story

New to Metro Vancouver? Never ridden on city streets? Cycling skills a little rusty? There are a lot of different reasons why people take our $10 and $20 Streetwise courses, but one thing is always consistent - they walk away with a newfound confidence for cycling. Don’t believe us? Read Tracy’s story of how a Streetwise course helped her. If you need a bit of help to get back on your bike this summer, check out our course listings www.bikehub.ca/streetwise.

“I signed up for a Streetwise course as I am new to Canada and had bought a bike to help me get around but I didn’t feel confident being on the road with cars. When I was shopping around for my bike people said to me “you need to choose a bike that you can ride with joy” but this was a foreign concept to me, rather than finding it joyful it felt stressful and I was only cycling when I absolutely had to and only if I could get to my destination without going on main roads.

A friend of a friend told me about the Streetwise courses so I signed up for a two-hour course. Ahead of the class I felt nervous but quite hopeful that it would help me learn the rules of the road, provide some tips on cycling in Vancouver and make me a more confident rider. It definitely lived up to my expectations as the course was fantastic. The lesson had a good balance of theory and practical and I’ve been sharing what I learnt with people who bike and those who only drive as a lot of the information is relevant to non-cyclists too. Donna, our instructor, was very informative, clear, supportive and encouraging. During the theory session, she was able to share the facts, while also acknowledging that it takes time to build confidence for some things, like left hand turns on busy roads. Learning about the rights of cyclists on the road was helpful as it reassured me that I have a right to be on the road and I now know where to place myself on the road, safely. Previously, I was aware of things like dooring but would still put myself at risk if a car wanted to pass but now I take the lane, while being considerate of other road users.

Despite there being quite a difference in the level of skills, experience and confidence of the people in my group, when we went on the road ride Donna provided an excellent level of support and encouragement for us all, demonstrating her belief that we could all do it. Her enthusiasm rubbed off on me and I was amazed at the amount of confidence I gained from one hour on the road. I was perhaps a little sceptical that a short ride would make much difference to my confidence, however I was wrong, it has made a huge difference and my confidence continues to grow each ride.

Since I took the course I have been cycling more often and actually look forward to riding to new places or going out on my bike for pleasure rather than because I have to. I’ve also got up the courage to take my bike on the Skytrain and hope to try it on the buses soon.

I’ve already encouraged others to take the Streetwise course as it is ideal for new cyclists or people who are new to Vancouver or Canada. Even people who have been cycling for a while or car drivers would learn something!”