**This is for the Riding with Ray section:** Ray Hall is one of the GVCC's resident cycling gurus. A Canadian Cycling Association (CCA) certified instructor, Ray teaches regular Can-Bike courses which teach cyclists how to operate bicycles safely in traffic. For current Can-Bike schedules, see the GVCC Main Menu. Ray has summarised some of his best advice for us here: Accreditation. A recent article in the Canadian Cycling Association news letter pointed out that cyclists suffer a credibility gap compared with drivers. It cited as an example an experienced driver who hit a very experienced cyclist. In court, the driver pointed to his spotless driving record and to a list of driving courses, certificates and log books. The cyclist, as experienced or more so, lacks recognized credentials. Whom does the court believe? A cyclist who takes a recognized cycling course such as Canadian Cycling Association "Can-Bike" shows an interest in improving road skills. Passing with international certification clearly demonstrates that a recognizable skill level has been achieved. Beater Bikes: Ugly, functional, cheap transportation: a street bike with drop bars, narrow tires and ten gears. Depending on how far you plan to ride, they can cost between $50 and $150. Beaters are great for rain riding. Aluminum alloy rims are the first thing to look for; they retain 80% of their dry stopping ability when wet compared to 20% for chrome steel. Fenders keep things cleaner, easier to maintain and less appealing. Mud flaps front and rear reduce flying grime. Friction shifting gears [no click stops for the gears] are cheaper and easier to maintain than indexed models. Yes, you can find the gears yourself! Drop bars can be comfortable when adjusted to your body. Believe it or not, narrowish 28mm tires do very well in town but puncture-resistant kevlar belts or "Mr. Tuffy" tire strips help the flat-tire squeamish avoid messy situations. Ten gears can get you around with light loads. Bike theft is a constant problem: keep a beater unattractive. Buy them in the fall and recycle them in the spring. Car/Bike Accidents. Most accidents happen in front of you at intersections. This applies to almost all vehicles. The common misconception is that cyclists are hit from behind by drivers who don't see them. The three most common car-bicycle accidents: (1) An oncoming driver who turns left in front of a cyclist. (2) A driver who overtakes the cyclist only to suddenly turn right in front of her. (3) A driver who stops at a sign or light in front of you and re- starts into you. In all three situations, riding further out from the curb reduces the chances of an accident by increasing your visibility. Eye Protection. Flying debris and insects can cause permanent eye injuries. This was brought home when a Ride Across America participant was found dead beside a quiet road with insect parts in one eye. You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars for the latest eyewear. A pair of safety glasses from the local safety supply store works just as well. Be sure to check your peripheral vision before buying any glasses. Whenever possible try to get optically correct lenses that do not distort colors or depth perception. Indecision. If the cyclist doesn't know what he is doing, how do the drivers around him know what to expect? When a cyclist waffles and wobbles, drivers can't anticipate her next move and they become anxious. If the driver makes a decision based on what the rider is doing at one moment and the rider changes her mind, the situation becomes dangerous. Bicycles are very maneuverable and can change direction much faster than can cars. This catches drivers by surprise, leaving them unable to react in time. Think at least one minute ahead; plan at least five minutes ahead. Know where you are going and what you are going to do before you reach an intersection. Only then can you communicate clearly with the drivers around you.