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Meet Dan Hernandez: Our Newest League Cycling Coach
The League’s Smart Cycling program is made up of over 6,000 League Cycling Instructors (LCIs) from across the country and that number continues to grow as we train, certify and empower those who teach what they love — bike riding!
Hundreds of these bicycling experts are newly certified each year after completing our LCI course, which includes testing assessments and training during our three-day LCI Seminars.
Who instructs the instructors?
League Cycling Coaches are the talented people who train our LCIs on the Smart Cycling curriculum and how to teach it. They are active advocates in their communities, have assisted with multiple LCI seminars, and have proven their ability to run an effective and efficient LCI seminar independently. Read on to meet our newest Coach, bringing our current number of coaches up to 18!
Dan Hernandez, our newest League Cycling Coach, has been a League Cycling Instructor since 2008 and loves working in the Bike East Bay education program where he coaches and manages Bike East Bay’s large group of bike education instructors, in addition to offering bike lessons to monolingual Spanish speakers in the Oakland, California, area.
Just like the stories of many of our League Cycling Instructors and League Cycling Coaches, Dan's enthusiasm for bike education stems from a belief that the more people are on bikes, the better life is for everyone. When nominated for one of our LCI Spotlights, Dan named climate change as a motivator for teaching people how to ride bikes, a motivation fitting for his background.
Dan began bike commuting while attending schools in the eastern and central US, which culminated in him earning a Masters in Ecology while becoming a master of the bicycle. After working in environmental conservation for ten years, domestically and internationally, he began teaching outdoor recreation. Now, ten years into his second career, Dan is convinced of the power of recreation to change lives, communities, and ecosystems. With certifications in sea kayaking and rock climbing, his favorite ‘work’ still involves cycling.
What motivated you to take the next step and become a League Cycling Coach?
Biking is super fun duh! So if I can teach it better, sign me up. The LAB education program has been a great resource for that. In 2008, I became an LCI and then taught hundreds of classes -- some for private companies and some for nonprofit bike organizations. For the last 6 years, I've been able to work with other instructors as a lead instructor for Bike East Bay and meet our student's needs better. Bike education on this level, teaching students at times and also teaching LCIs, has been an opportunity and privilege that I deeply respect. Becoming a coach was a hurdle I was going to give my all towards and I am happy I did as I'm finding more resources and community to better the bike work I get to do.
What are you looking forward to doing with your new Coach status?
TEACHING MORE. I love meeting people, getting to understand what they wanna use the bike for, and then helping them make a plan, learn the skills, build confidence, and do all this while being excited about it. The best part is, as it does for me, all these benefits extend and influence other parts of their lives. They don't stay in a folder in their brain labeled bike riding. I wonder if they affect us so much because riding a bike today is remarkable on so many levels...so fun (you're kinda flying so smiles happen easily on bike rides), so liberating (you aren't trapped in a car, in traffic, or in a rut...), so positive (when riding you solve so many problems from inequality to health, to climate, to congestion). I don't know why exactly but I do know bike rides were the key to expanding/increasing my self-confidence, health, joy and overall quality of life. From applying to my dream job or setting off on that dream adventure, biking reminded me not to place limits on what I could or couldn't do, because it is possible, one step or pedal at a time. This approach is also clutch for me to have hope as we tackle huge problems from climate change to elementary school shootings. One pedal at a time.
We all have an interesting bike story. What’s yours?
I think this is interesting…in 1998 I was losing my hair rapidly. Odd because I was 24 years old, but also not odd because I was so stressed out worrying how I’d survive three more years of medical school let alone working as something I was beginning to see wasn't what I wanted to do with my one life. Then, on one of my many sleepless first-year medical school nights, I read about a bike courier from where I was living in Washington, DC riding the newly completed Continental Divide trail. That idea stayed in my head, unlike my hair…and I turned to the bike -- not necessarily for answers but just for comfort. I drove to the Rockies and pedaled off, gear bungeed sideways and a map flapping in the wind. As it has more than a few times since then, one pedal at a time I found my way through that trip. Figuratively and literally. One pedal at a time worked to get me 1.5 weeks North and then 1.5 weeks South on the trail. Just as importantly, that time pedaling gave me the self-confidence to change my direction in life towards one that fit and felt better for me. I’m happy to say bike riding cured my baldness.
Our League Cycling Coaches and League Cycling Instructors are truly changing the world one bike lesson at a time! If you would like to join them, learn how to become a League Cycling Instructor, the first step to becoming a League Cycling Coach.