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  1. #1
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    what is an incompetent cyclist?

    This term gets bandied about frequently in VC discussions...I'd like a definition of an "incompetent cyclist". thanks!

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    Third World Layabout crtreedude's Avatar
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    A person who is clipped in who falls over like the guy on Laugh-In...

  3. #3
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    that's pretty much my idea!

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    If you have to ask...

    Like with just about anything, there are different levels of competence when it comes to riding a bike in traffic. If one is not high enough on that continuum, then he is incompetent.

    In driving cars we have a driving test to determine competence: you have to achieve a certain score. It's not a perfect system, but it's the best we've got. There are specialized tests for truck drivers, motorcyclists, etc.

    For bicycling in traffic, John Forester has developed the Forester Cyclist Proficiency Score Sheet.

    Competence is defined as being able to achieve 70% on that.

    Here is a link that tells you more about it. I copy/pasted the score sheet here so you can get an idea of what is being evaluated. This worksheet is intended to be used by instructors who are trained in how to use it.



    GROUP # _________________ CYCLIST # __________________
    NAME _______________________________ DATE _______________________

    ADDRESS _______________________________ TEST PLACE _____________________________

    _______________________________ EXAMINER _____________SCORER ___________


    Total Possible _________ Total Lost _________ Score (100(P - L)/P ______________

    TRAFFIC SIGNAL .........+5____________ BEING OVERTAKEN......... +10 ___________

    Wrong Action........ -5____________ Too Far Left........... -8___________

    STOP SIGN.............. +5____________ Too Far Right.......... -4___________

    Too Fast ............-2____________ OVERTAKING ...............+10__________

    Not Looking .........-4____________ Swerving ...............-4___________

    Not Yielding ........-5____________ No Look B4 Swerve ......-8___________

    EXIT DRIVEWAY ..........+5____________ Cut Off Slow Driver ....-5___________

    Too Fast ............-4____________ RIGHT TURN ................+5___________

    Not Looking .........-4____________ Wrong Lane .............-2___________

    Not Yielding ........-4____________ Not Yielding ...........-5___________

    RIGHT TURN ONLY .......+10___________ Not Looking Left .......-4___________

    Straight from RTOL ..-8____________ LEFT TURN ................+15___________

    Swerving Out ........-8____________ Wrong Start Posit .....-12___________

    INTERSECTION APPR'CH ..+10___________ Not Looking ...........-10___________

    R-Side R-Turn Car ...-8____________ Not Yielding ..........-15___________

    R-Side Moving Car ...-4____________ No Stop in Ped Turn ...-15___________

    Too Far Right .......-4____________ End in Wrong Lane ......-5___________

    Too Far Left ........-4____________ MULTIPLE L-TURN LANES ....+10___________

    PARKED CAR ............+10___________ Wrong Lane Choice .......-7___________

    Swerving ............-8___________ Wrong Side Of Lane ......-4___________

    Too Far Out .........-2___________ CHANGING LANES ............+15___________

    Too Close ...........-4___________ Not Looking .............-8___________

    No Return When Req ..-2___________ Not Yielding ...........-12___________

    Return When Not Req .-4___________ Too Many Lanes ..........-5___________ GROUP # __________________ CYCLIST # _________________

    MERGE .................+15___________ PEDALLING ................+5___________

    Incorrect Path ......-8___________ Slow Cadence ..........-2___________

    Not Yielding .......-12___________ Stiff Ankling .........-2___________

    DIVERGE ...............+15___________ SHIFTING .................+5___________

    Incorrect Path ......-8___________ Too Slow on Hills .....-2___________

    Not Looking .........-8___________ Too Slow in Traffic ...-2___________

    Not Yielding .......-12___________ PANIC STOP ..............+20___________

    GROUP RIDING ..........+15___________ Rear Wheel Skid .......-5___________

    Overlap .............-5___________ Lift Rear Wheel .......-15___________

    Too Far Behind ......-2___________ Skid & Fall ...........-15___________

    Not Indicating Rock .-2___________ INSTANT TURN .............+20___________

    Not Indicating Slow .-5___________ Too Wide ...............-5___________

    Swerving ............-8___________ Too Slow ..............-10___________

    WIDE TO NARROW .........+5___________ ROAD DEFECT ..............+20___________

    Swerving ............-6___________ Incorrect Action ......-10___________

    No Look or Yield ....-4___________ WIND BLAST ...............+20___________

    OFF-ON ROADWAY ........+15___________ Too Much Wobble .......-10___________

    Bad Choice of Place .-2___________ AVOID MOT. @ STOP SIGN ...+20___________

    Too Fast Return .....-8____________ Incorrect .............-10___________

    Not Looking .........-8___________ AVOID MOTORIST MERGE .....+20___________

    Not Yielding ........-8___________ Incorrect ................-10___________

    Not Perpendicular ...-8___________ AVOID MOT. RIGHT TURN ....+20___________

    DIAGONAL RR TRACKS ....+15___________ Incorrect .............-10___________

    Not Looking ........-12___________ AVOID MOT. LEFT TURN .....+20___________

    Not Yielding .......-12___________ Incorrect Action ......-10___________

    Not Perpendicular ..-10___________

    POSTURE ................+5___________

    Incorrect Saddle Ht .-2___________

    Incorrect Foot Pos ..-2___________

  5. #5
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    mkay, so in the extreme VC world it has to do with passing this test given by a lisenced instructor?

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    Non-Custom Member zeytoun's Avatar
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    Also, please note, that any factor in the list above that is accompanied by the word "too" requires subjectivity in grading. Unless, or course, there are very specific metrics that graders must use (for example, cadence becomes "too slow" at 30rps - I couldn't think of a similar example for ankling stiffness).

    Other metrics that are either/or are much clearer, IMHO. The cyclist either looked or didn't, either lifted the rear wheel in a stop, or didn't either fell or didn't.
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    Slow Cadence ..........-2___________

    Not Yielding .......-12___________ Stiff Ankling .........-2___________

    DIVERGE ...............+15___________ SHIFTING .................+5___________

    Incorrect Path ......-8___________ Too Slow on Hills
    So if i am out of shape and have trouble making it up hills, I am not "competent?" Most people would define "too slow on hills" as the inability to make it too the top.

    If I am out for a ride with my family or just "smelling the flowers" and have a "slow cadence" that means I am incompetent?

    What exactly is a "slow cadence" anyways. What is a "normal cadence." Is "normal" the mean or median cadence used by the cyling public, or is it based on the cadence of uberjock weekend warrior power rangers?


    Apparently, I lose five points automatically for riding fixed, seeing as i can't demonstrate my "shifting" competence.

  8. #8
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skanking biker
    So if i am out of shape and have trouble making it up hills, I am not "competent?" Most people would define "too slow on hills" as the inability to make it too the top.

    If I am out for a ride with my family or just "smelling the flowers" and have a "slow cadence" that means I am incompetent?

    What exactly is a "slow cadence" anyways. What is a "normal cadence." Is "normal" the mean or median cadence used by the cyling public, or is it based on the cadence of uberjock weekend warrior power rangers?


    Apparently, I lose five points automatically for riding fixed, seeing as i can't demonstrate my "shifting" competence.
    As I read it, too slow on hills refers to shifting - either it means to slow to shift when needed or too slow a cadence on hill. I'd guess it means too slow to shift to maintain steady cadence.
    No one item makes a cyclist incompetent - but instead a total number of misses vs. total number of plusses with a can add up to below the competent level for this particular evaluation.
    Al

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    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    to me, an incompetent cyclist might have a lot of accidents because they didn't know what they were doing?

  10. #10
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rando
    to me, an incompetent cyclist might have a lot of accidents because they didn't know what they were doing?
    Thats one measure, the results.
    I'd want a more proactive measure though.

    Many potential accidents are avoided thru luck or the attentivess/skill of other potential parties. Some folks can get away with years of accident free driving because of this, while being a poor driver by any measure.

    Al

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rando
    mkay, so in the extreme VC world it has to do with passing this test given by a lisenced instructor?
    It's the only definition I know of that attempts to define incompetent in some kind of objective fashion.

    There are still subjective factors, of factors, just as there are in determining competence in driving, flying, judo, painting, even computer programming...

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skanking biker
    So if i am out of shape and have trouble making it up hills, I am not "competent?" Most people would define "too slow on hills" as the inability to make it too the top.

    If I am out for a ride with my family or just "smelling the flowers" and have a "slow cadence" that means I am incompetent?

    What exactly is a "slow cadence" anyways. What is a "normal cadence." Is "normal" the mean or median cadence used by the cyling public, or is it based on the cadence of uberjock weekend warrior power rangers?


    Apparently, I lose five points automatically for riding fixed, seeing as i can't demonstrate my "shifting" competence.
    I think "too slow on hills" is referring to DOWNhills. You know, the bicyclist riding their brakes because they're too scared to go above 20 or 25 mph or whatever.

    I was in a racing clinic once and the trainer told me my cadence was too slow. How did he know? Answer: experience.

    In my day you were tested for shifting in the driver's test. Of course, this section did not apply if your car had an automatic transmission.

  13. #13
    Non-Custom Member zeytoun's Avatar
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    It's the only definition I know of that attempts to define incompetent in some kind of objective fashion.

    There are still subjective factors, of factors, just as there are in determining competence in driving, flying, judo, painting, even computer programming...
    What is meant by "ankling" on the test, HH?
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    Non-Custom Member zeytoun's Avatar
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    I was in a racing clinic once and the trainer told me my cadence was too slow. How did he know? Answer: experience.
    argumentum ad verecundiam
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  15. #15
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    I figure not getting killed is a good sign of basic competence, no tests required.

    Anyone here think passing a driving test makes one a 'competent' driver?
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom
    I figure not getting killed is a good sign of basic competence, no tests required.

    Anyone here think passing a driving test makes one a 'competent' driver?
    Not in an absolute sense, of course, but I do think it's a pretty good indicator.

  17. #17
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeytoun
    argumentum ad verecundiam
    It's not an argument. It's an attempt to illustrate that appropriate cadence can be estimated by a trained eye.

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeytoun
    What is meant by "ankling" on the test, HH?
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/ankling.html

    Edit: "Ankling" refers to how much your ankle adjusts the angle between your foot and lower leg during pedaling. "Stiff ankling" is when the angle does not change throughout the stroke.
    Last edited by Helmet Head; 05-21-07 at 05:31 PM.

  19. #19
    Non-Custom Member zeytoun's Avatar
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    It's not an argument. It's an attempt to illustrate that appropriate cadence can be estimated by a trained eye.
    The question was, what exactly is a "slow cadence".

    Do you have an answer for that?

    I must have misunderstood your responding to that post by saying that an experienced trainer can judge the appropriate cadence. I think skanking biker is asking for something specific and measurable, so that he doesn't have to defer to the experience of an authority figure.
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  20. #20
    Non-Custom Member zeytoun's Avatar
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    Ankling, a topic of much discussion, has been claimed to improve performance in bicycling, although not by racers and coaches. It has been touted as one of the techniques for excellence that appeals to bicyclists mainly because it requires no additional effort. That there are different ankle motions while pedaling is apparent, although most of these are not by choice nor do they effect efficiency. Because so much attention was given the subject in the 1960's, it prompted a study in Italy, in which some leading racers noted for their abilities as well as a distinct pedaling style were fit with instrumentation to numerically capture the stroke. Among them was Jacques Anquetil who had a noticeably different ankle motion. The study determined that there was no consistency among those tested and that ankling, much like people's walking gait, is caused by physical individuality rather than any advantage. Typically, some walking gaits are so pronounced that a person can be recognized by it at a distance. Some people raise their heel before stepping off on the next stride while others "peel" the foot from the floor in a continuous motion. To artificially emulate someone's ankle motion or lack thereof, while pedaling, is as useless as emulating a walking gait. The study laid ankling to rest for a while, but because urban legends have a life of their own, rising again at the slightest opportunity, ankling, with its lore, is assured a long life.
    Also from Sheldon's website:

    Some older cycling books and articles recommend the practice of "ankling." This refers to changing the angle of the foot fairly drastically during the course of the pedal stroke, so that the toe is pointed upward at the top of the stroke, and downward at the bottom. The idea is to make more use of the muscles of the lower leg, and to permit "pedaling in circles", i.e., applying more force to the cranks at top and bottom dead center.
    This practice is pretty much discredited these days. If carried to an extreme, it can cause injury. This happened to me when I was a teen-ager; I had read about ankling, and had just acquired my first pair of toe clips, just before setting out on my first overnight tour. I ankled for about the first 30-40 miles, when there was a sudden sharp pain in one of my Achilles tendons. I had to lower the saddle, remove the toe clips, and finish out the 4 day tour pedaling on my arches, because I couldn't bear the slightest load on the front of my foot, pulling on the Achilles tendons. For about a month thereafter, I would need to massage my Achilles tendons for about 5 minutes each morning before I would be able to walk. 40 years later, I've still not completely recovered from this injury.
    So why is ankling still on the test?
    Do you agree with it's presence on the test?
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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeytoun
    The question was, what exactly is a "slow cadence".

    Do you have an answer for that?

    I must have misunderstood your responding to that post by saying that an experienced trainer can judge the appropriate cadence. I think skanking biker is asking for something specific and measurable, so that he doesn't have to defer to the experience of an authority figure.
    Oh. Sure, on flats normal cadence is around 80 rpm or higher. I used to count the number of times my right knee came up in 10 seconds and multiply by 6, but now I just use a cyclo-computer. Personally, I like to spin in the 90-105 range. Like anything else, it takes getting used to. 60 is a good starting point, then work up to 70, 80 and 90.

    On hills it can be much slower (see Jan Ullrich, not Lance Armstrong, for an example!)

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeytoun

    So why is ankling still on the test?
    Do you agree with it's presence on the test?
    Ankling is not on the test.
    "Stiff ankling" is on the test.
    I agree with it, because there should be some change in angle during the stroke.
    That usage has nothing to do with the extreme practice known as "ankling".

  23. #23
    Non-Custom Member zeytoun's Avatar
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    Oh. Sure, on flats normal cadence is around 80 rpm or higher. I used to count the number of times my right knee came up in 10 seconds and multiply by 6, but now I just use a cyclo-computer. Personally, I like to spin in the 90-105 range. Like anything else, it takes getting used to. 60 is a good starting point, then work up to 70, 80 and 90.

    On hills it can be much slower (see Jan Ullrich, not Lance Armstrong, for an example!)
    Much better, thank you.

    So a trained instructor will only mark someone down for "slow cadence" when 1) on flats, 2)their cadence is below 80, and 3)not coasting (my assumption) or 4)slowing down (also my assumption) or 5)starting off the line (also also my assumption)

    Also, is this based on a percentage of the time spent below 80, or is it more of a sudden death?
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    Non-Custom Member zeytoun's Avatar
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    That usage has nothing to do with the extreme practice known as "ankling".
    I'm sorry. I confused the two, when I asked you about "ankling on the test" and you sent me to a link that spoke about the extreme practice known as "ankling"

    I agree with it, because there should be some change in angle during the stroke.
    Ok. Do you have a reason to believe that there is a link between stiff ankles and cycling competence?

    Also, how much angle change is required to pass that portion of the test? Is there a cut-off point, or is an absolute (some angle change vs none), or is it subjective based on the trainer?
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  25. #25
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom
    I figure not getting killed is a good sign of basic competence, no tests required.

    Anyone here think passing a driving test makes one a 'competent' driver
    ?
    There's a difference between "competence" and "proficiency" or "mastery". People who have passed a driving test are competent drivers, although they're usuall not masterful drives. Mastery would require the attainment of additional skills or knowledge beyond the level of competence. I think Forester's test is a test of mastery, and too difficult to be a test of mere competence. Competence usually refers to the minimum level of skills required to adequately perform a task or skill.

    An authority of some sort is required to determine competency, chipcom, and that's not a bad thing either. If you ever had surgery, I hope that some authority had determined that your surgeon was competent before you had the operation, not by turning him loose to see if anybody dies. I doubt if you'd turn a 12 year old child loose on a bike in heavy traffic to determine his competency either.

    (Nevertheless, the 12 year old would probably become competent pretty quickly if he didn't die first, proving that bike riding ain't brain surgery.)

    Anyhoo, I don't know if I could pass Forester's test, but I'd be proud if I did.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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