Frequently-Asked Questions


Q: Why are the "Bringing up Bicyclists" classes for parents instead of for the children?
A: Children up to age 10 should generally still be riding with their parents. They would hear instruction from me once, but it is better if they hear it from their parents over and over. I can also reach a larger audience than if I taught the children directly.
Q: Can I bring my child/children to the "Bringing up Bicyclists" class?
A: You can bring them if they will not disrupt the class. They will probably be bored silly and they will not learn much. The class is designed for adults, and children will probably get very restless and want to leave long before the class is over.
Q: My child is not 10 years old yet. Can he/she enroll in the "Middle School Bike Skills" class anyway?
A: No. Most children under the age of 10 do not have the cognitive skills to properly judge distance and closing speed of vehicles, choose appropriately-sized gaps in traffic, etc. I let a parent talk me into letting a 9-year old into a class once, and it was a disaster. He was simply unable to do what was asked of him, and he ended up in tears. I felt bad for him and was trying to go easy on him, but it was unpleasant for all of us and not a good learning situation.
Q: Why do you require a parent to attend the "Middle School Bike Skills" class?
A: I want the parents to hear what I am teaching the children. I also want them to see how their children perform on the road so they will have a good idea of their children's skill level. Then they will know what needs practice, what streets and routes are appropriate, etc. I also don't want one child's problems to disrupt the whole class while we are out on the road. If someone gets sick or tired or starts to act up, I want to have a parent deal with it so I can continue to teach the class (so far this hasn't happened, but I'm sure it will). I have also heard parents tell me that they learned a lot from the class.
Q: I am a good bicyclist, and my children have been riding a long time. Why should I take either of these classes?
A: Being good at something doesn't mean that you can explain it well. I break things down and analyze them in a way that helps you to understand it and explain it to your children. The "Bringing up Bicyclists" class also helps parents to see things from a child's point of view and to understand how their physical and mental capabilities differ from that of adults.

Here are some quotes from parents after my classes:

" I knew everything you said instinctively from my many years of riding, but you helped me analyze it so that I can explain it to my son."

"I have been involved in traffic safety for years, and thought I knew it all, but I learned a lot."

"You said many of the same things that I have been telling my children, but it really helps for them to hear the same thing from an authority figure who is not their parent."

"I learned a lot about how to drive safely around bicyclists."

"This class was a potential life-saver for my daughter."

"This class should be mandatory for all middle school students."

"I see now that we were doing almost everything wrong. It all makes perfect sense when you explain it."

"Rich was extraordinary: knowledgeable, patient and practical. Just the right combination of lecture + practice." (Middle School Bike Skills)


For more information, send email to , or call Rich Swent at (650) 493-7979