Posts Tagged ‘LCI’
We are very fortunate to have a League of American Bicyclist board member, Gail Spann living in north Texas. Her dedication to cycling and bike education is an inspiration for many bicyclists, advocates and enthusiasts. This past weekend, she and her husband, Jim, hosted a visit from the League’s president, Andy Clarke, who came to talk to us about Bike Education and the Bike Friendly Communities Program in north Texas.
Given that our time with Andy was limited and wanting to keep this visit focused, we set up two meetings with just a few key instructors, advocates, industry leaders and city officials.
The first meeting – which was held Sunday evening at Gail’s house – was about the current education program, were several local LCIs (League Cycling Instructors) met with Andy for dinner and a ’round table’ discussion. We discussed ways to make the program better and how to reach a larger audience. Quite a few good ideas were discussed and many of us left the meeting inspired and ready to move the program forward.
Bike Friendly Communities:
The second meeting – held on Monday evening at the Plano Parks and Recreation office – was about north Texas and the the Bike Friendly Communities Program. Attending, were representatives of BikeTexas, BikeDFW, Bike Friendly Richardson, Bike Friendly Oak Cliff and Plano Bicycle Association, city officials from Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano and Richardson, and industry leaders from Richardson Bike Mart and Plano Cycling and Fitness.
At this meeting, city officials were able to openly discuss the efforts that have been made towards bicycling infrastructure, issues and concerns with the Bike Friendly Communities Program and ways to get clear benchmarks moving forward. It was evident that many of the city officials weren’t expecting a ranking based on the current program, but wanted to see some sort of recognition for the expenses and efforts made so far. They felt that having this would help motivate and inspire city management and council to continue investing in bicycling education and infrastructure.
Given the limited amount of time, we were able to have a good conversation with Andy Clarke, and he was able to assure us that the League of American Bicyclists was listening and willing to help us achieve our goals of becoming bike friendly communities. It was nice to be able to have this direct link to the League to make it clear that cycling is growing in north Texas and we are a strong community of bicycle riders.
One of the main reasons that I became a League Cycling Instructor was to teach people how to ride bikes and how to do it safely. Although the League’s Traffic Skills 101 has been a staple course that’s taught in my area, my hope is to get better trained at Bicycling Skills 123 and Bicycling Skills 123 Youth and teach kids how to ride safer. If you teach them young, perhaps they’ll carry those skills with them into adulthood.
Something that I never considered was teaching adults how to ride. Being connected to our local advocacy group, BikeDFW and a network of local LCIs, we discovered that there was enough interest in this course, that we decided to offer it.
Many of our available instructors (including myself) were not fully trained in teaching this course, so we reached out to Gail Copus Spann, who is not only an LCI, but also trains them. Gail was able to take time away from her busy schedule as Chair of the Board of Directors for the League of American Bicyclists, to help teach both students and instructors. The students learned how to ride while the instructors picked up some great techniques on how to teach this course.
We decided to have the course at Bob Woodruff Park, in Plano, where there was plenty of open space that included a nice, grassy hill. The class was scheduled to run just a couple of hours, because any longer, students start to get burned out and too tired to focus. That was plenty of time to get the students acquainted with the basic fundamentals of the course and allow them to continue at their own pace, if needed.
The first thing we noticed in offering this course, is that most of the students did not have their own bicycles. This made sense, since they haven’t ridden before. We were able to pull together a few loaners, which we plan to offer for future courses. Once we got all of the bikes set up and fitted for each student, we were able to start taking them through the steps.
The pace of the course was slow by design. The goal was to steadily teach each student how to control the bike and not let the bike control them. Gail guided the students down the low-sloping, grassy hill dozens of times to help them gain their confidence and increase their skill level. With every run, our team of instructors would watch and evaluate the student’s progress – providing positive feedback. We were amazed at the level of progression that was made by each student throughout the course.
By the end of the class, all of the students were able to ride their bikes. The smiles on their faces reminded us of how wonderful it is to start somebody down the amazing path of bicycling. I enjoyed working with Gail and the other instructors, Warren, Mike and Bob. I hope to get more opportunities to assist people with courses like this.
Last weekend, I worked with BikeDFW and proudly participated at the Allen Family Bike Day – helping with a Youth Skills 123 course at the event. Headed by League Cycling Instructor Dorothy Zarbo, I was part of a team of LCIs which also included fellow LCI training graduates, Betsy Veneziano and Francis Schommer. We worked with local elementary and middle school students to run a successful Bike Rodeo for Allen kids.
We had a great time working with the kids, who in turn, helped others learn some basic safety skills. Kids learned how to signal their stops, left & right turns as well as how to yield in traffic. Since helmets were required on the course, some were loaned out by the City of Allen to those who forgot theirs. I’m hoping parents were inspired to remind their kids to continue wearing theirs.
I love doing these types of events, and I hope to do more across the DFW Metroplex.
As part of my efforts to make my community a safer place for cycling, I decided to become a League Cycling Instructor, last year. Now that I’ve completed the course, I must co-teach, at least twice, before I can teach my own classes. This weekend will be my first opportunity to do that.
I will be assisting in the Traffic Skills 101 class in my neighboring city, Garland.
Quite frankly, although I’ll be working with an amazing team, I’m slightly nervous about this — a little because this is my first time, a little because I fear that I might forget something, a little because I might mess up a parking lot drill, and a lot because I want to make sure our students leave with more knowledge, skills and confidence to be safer on the road.
Hopefully, as I teach more, I will become more confident in doing this. Hopefully, we can inspire more students to become teachers, and help cycling become safer for everybody.
I’ve been cycling off and on for almost all my life, more off than on. In early 2008, my car club (I love the irony) started a “Biggest Loser” contest. Since I was the biggest and heaviest that I’ve ever been, I decided to join the challenge, eat healthier and start exercising. I started cycling more often, and really liked it.
I actually won that biggest loser contest (even though I could still lose a few pounds). What I find funny is that you never know how the choices you make – like a silly contest – will effect your life and where it will take you. I’ve become so passionate about cycling that I’ve started commuting by bike. I also advocate cycling, run a couple of bike blogs and now, I’ve decided to teach.
A few weeks ago, I took and successfully completed the League of American Bicyclists‘ League Cycling Instructor Seminar and become a League Cycling Instructor. I am LCI #3760 and I’m pretty proud of that accomplishment. I’ll try to do a writeup about the course later on.
My goal, with the help of some friends, is to bring more education to my area to help elevate my city, Richardson, Texas to a more bike friendly status. To be continued.
I meant to post these last week, but I was busy with prepping for my own biking course (more to come on that). A couple of Sundays ago, we had our first – in quite some time – Bike League Traffic Skill 101 class in Richardson, Texas. The class was lead by League Cycling Instructors Mike Freiberger, Warren Casteel and Renee Jordan.
They had a great group of students with a broad range of riding experience. Their bicycles ranged from super light road bikes to incredibly long and heavy utility bikes. I was really impressed with how well all of the cyclist handle their bikes – even the big ones – through the parking lot drills. Scroll down to see a video of how well a long frame bike handles the really tight Avoidance Weave.
Here are some pics from the parking lot drills. Click here to see the rest.
Check out THIS Avoidance Weave: