by Neil Blackington, EMSCI #031
Bike team try-outs are scheduled over the course of three days to afford all interested parties the opportunity to compete for a slot on the team.
The try-outs begin promptly as scheduled and are uncompensated events. An individual try-out session will be cancelled if it is raining. Candidates meet at the Support Services Section approximately fifteen minutes prior to the start of the session.
To be eligible, department members must have been hired at least two years prior to the try-outs.
The try-out clinic tests new candidates and refresh some veteran members of the team (all team members must refresh every other year. Those who do not refresh relinquish their positions on the team).
New candidates only must submit a letter of interest detailing their bicycling experience, including, if applicable, any riding club affiliation, documentation of participation in sanctioned riding events such as competitive road races, charity rides, bicycle training programs, or participation in volunteer bike patrols. Additionally, candidates must describe the type, make, and model of the bike that will be used for the try-outs.
Only mountain or all-terrain bicycles in safe, good condition may be used. No racing, road, or “city” bikes may be used. A bike team supervisor will evaluate personal bikes for eligibility. His or her decisions will be final. Approximately five department-owned bikes will be available on a first-call, first-served reservation basis for each of the try-out sessions.
Candidates must also provide a SNELL or US CPCS-certified helmet, protective eyewear, and gloves.
The try-out includes an approximately 10-mile timed trial over a monitored, multi-terrain course and a five-station skills course immediately thereafter. Candidates can best prepare for the timed trial by training to bicycle an average of 10 miles in less than 50 minutes. Candidates can best prepare for the skills course by practicing completing circles (clockwise and counter clockwise) inside the area of a standard parking space without letting the feet touch the ground or allowing the wheels to touch the lines outlining the parking space.
We start with an eight-station safety and balance drill. This is both instructional and for the purpose of testing. The maneuvers are taught, and students are given time to master the skills and announce that they are ready to be tested. Skills include: ABC Quick Check, basic rules of the road, shoulder checks (rear scans), maximum braking, quick turn, rock dodge, balance drill in a 10-ft. box, and a slow-speed maneuverability drill. The ten-mile, multi-terrain (hilly) course is job-specific, as it covers one of the Marathon Day route assignments. The ride must be completed within a time limit established as an aggregate of the times from many previous tests.
Successful candidates will make up BLS and ALS lists to be called for special events and assignments over the course of the next year.
(C) 2004 IPMBA. This article appeared in the Spring 2004 issue of IPMBA News.