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6,000 League Cycling Instructors!
The League is thrilled to announce that its network of League Cycling Instructors (LCIs) has now surpassed 6,000! We hit the 6K LCI level with the LCI seminar held in Grand Rapids, MI, hosted by the City of Grand Rapids’ Mobile GR and Parking Services Department and the Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition (GGRBC). Smart Cycling Coach, Neil Walker, led the seminar.
The organizations awarded scholarships to seven bike-minded people in Grand Rapids recognized for their gift to teach and reach diverse communities. The city has collaborated with GGRBC in years past to offer Smart Cycling courses for community members. This year, they are focused on diversifying the attendance of people who attend these bicycle education classes and offer an equitable option for those who do not speak English. A few of their scholarship recipients came from Spoke Folks, a non-profit bicycling co-op in Grand Rapids. Lucky LCI # 6000 is Anel Guel, an avid cyclist in the Grand Rapids community and a strong voice for equitable mobility. She is a native Spanish speaker and board member of Spoke Folks. Guel will be helping with a Spanish speaking bicycle education outreach program that GGRBC be hosting this fall.
We reached out to Anel to find out a little bit more about our #6000 LCI. We couldn’t have found a more genuine, passionate and cooler LCI. Here is a little about Anel:
Why did you decide to pursue being a League Cycling Instructor?
I decided to pursue being a League Certified Instructor because I'm excited about creating an inclusive, fun and relaxed classroom. Cycling is so fun, but from my experience, there's a lot guilt around cycling. It's kind of like working out. The mentality is always "I SHOULD work out," or "I NEED to go to the gym." Seldom is it, "I am fortunate my body can walk for miles," or "I enjoy pushing my body to new limits, no matter how small." That mentality shift is so important. When I talk about cycling to others who don't bike, or don't bike as much as they would like, I usually hear something like, "I should bike but (insert excuse here)." I always make sure to affirm that that's okay. People shouldn't feel judged or guilt for not cycling. That negative mindset will never get more people to bike. My approach is to show how much I love cycling, and lead through that example. I like showing off how positive cycling makes me feel, not because I want to brag, but because I think enthusiasm is contagious. That's the main reason why I decided to become an LCI. I'm looking to carve a space where cycling is fun and rewarding and something that people want to do, rather than feel like they should do.
What are your plans in bicycle education now that you are a LCI?
To be honest, I'm most looking forward to teaching in Spanish, expanding the cycling community to also include communities of color, and using social media to document this journey. Although I’m not an educator by trade, I taught a lot when I was a Peace Corps volunteer and enjoyed facilitating group learning in Spanish. I really hope to recruit a diverse classroom, and also document what I learn along the way via social media. I always learn something new when I'm on my bike, whether it's simple bike mechanics, or discovering a new trail near Grand Rapids. Social media can be a strong platform, and I hope to use it as a tool to show others that if I can fix a flat and ride in downtown traffic, then they can too.
Tell us a little bit about your background as a person who rides a bike and as an educator.
My name is Anel, I’m a developer and an urban commuter. I started cycling as an adult as a way to care for the environment and my physical and emotional health. I'm into hiking, Mexican veganism and intentionally creating community. You can follow some of my adventures on Instagram under the username @anelguel.