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Atlanta LCI Seminar Brings More BIPOC and Second Generation Bike Educators
Our network of League-certified ambassadors for better biking continues to grow! Earlier this month, Propel ATL, formally called Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, hosted a League Cycling Instructor (LCI) seminar that certified 11 new League Cycling Instructors who will now go out into their communities to get more people safely and confidently riding.
League Cycling Instructors are often someone’s first introduction into the joy-filled world of riding and therefore play an important role in getting more people to believe that choosing to go places by bike is possible. When you want to learn how to ride and do so safely, you reach out to a local LCI using our map to connect directly to individuals or with advocacy groups in your area. When you want to host an event to help others in your community ride more confidently you invite an LCI to host and lead fun skills drills or other classes. They’re here to help your community, business or university get more butts on bikes.
That’s why we’re proud to have partners helping us not only certify more League Cycling Instructors and ensure every community has a trusted bike educator, but also partners who believe like we do in the importance of diversifying the bike education network so that our LCIs are more representative of the communities they serve.
In 2021, the League partnered with Quality Bicycle Products (QBP) to offer 40 LCI Seminar Equity Scholarships for Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color (BIPOC) who want to become League Cycling Instructors. The scholarships were divided among four seminars hosted for BIPOC and by BIPOC League Cycling Coaches in select QBP cities and each scholarship covered the $500 tuition fee to attend an LCI seminar.
Given the inspiring number of people who want to become LCIs, and the many communities that could use more but don’t have the resources, the QBP-sponsored BIPOC LCI seminars continued into 2022 and were brought to non-QBP cities as well — this time in Atlanta, Georgia.
While Atlanta is home to over 20 BIPOC LCIs, the city’s bike culture is growing and the demand for qualified bike educators is higher than ever. The Atlanta LCI seminar was created to meet this demand, and to bring even more BIPOC bike educators into the fold. League Cycling Coach Neil Walker and assistant coach James Tyler, who both led the seminar, have long been a part of the Atlanta biking scene and have witnessed its growth.
“Bicycling in the Atlanta area has really transformed over the 20+ years that I have been here,” said James. “When I first got here you were taking your life into your own hands riding on most of the streets but then locals began advocating with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and some of the neighborhood planning groups and secured more bicycle infrastructure. The majority of residents who first opposed the changes in fear that we were preparing the area for gentrification began to take advantage of the infrastructure. Particularly during Covid, bicycling took off in Atlanta.”
Under the mentorship of Neil and James, participants spent three days learning how to teach the Smart Cycling curriculum as LCIs. In addition to indoor presentations on pre-assigned cycling topics, students spent time outdoors learning how to teach evasive maneuvers and group riding. Along with having the opportunity to connect with current and aspiring bike educators and advocates in the community, participants explored new routes around the city.
“One of my favorite moments from this seminar was seeing how much joy simply riding around the city together brought participants,” said James. “One woman, who is an avid mountain bike rider, said ‘I didn’t know road biking could be so much fun! I’m going to get a road bike so I can do this more’. Also, many participants were surprised by how much more there was to learn about bicycle safety. A lot of people left expressing that the training was time well spent.”
One of the newly-certified participants, Anu Morton, is the child of two longtime Atlanta LCIs — making her a second-generation LCI! Anu shared that her decision to get certified was influenced by her parents' work in bike education and the desire to further educate herself on cycling within the community — proving that there is always something more to learn.
“I have been around bikes and cyclists my entire life,” said Anu. “I was inspired not only by my parents who are LCIs but also because I realized that I have often taken for granted the fact that I can ride a bike and have the basic skills and knowledge that most don't when cycling. I also tend to enjoy mountain biking and trail riding but found value in the opportunity to learn more about road biking and commuting especially in the city. My experience was somewhat limited to distance group riding or on-campus commuting in college.”
Since LCI seminars bring together bike educators who share a common interest in teaching people more about safe biking but may not have otherwise met, the weekend was full of great discussions on how to mobilize and improve access to and awareness of cycling education in Atlanta.
Hours of brainstorming led to the idea of starting a cycling collective that would promote and organize all of Atlanta's bike education efforts on a wider level, including its growing network of LCIs and bike clubs. We look forward to hearing more about the collective and how our newest League Cycling Instructors are building better bicycling in the ATL.
Want to be a part of our next group of newly-certified League Cycling Instructors? The next BIPOC-focused LCI Seminar will be held October 14-16 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Visit our LCI Seminar Schedule to register or check out other seminars happening across the country. More are constantly being added!