To Train or Not To Train

To Train or Not To Train


That was the question I had a few months ago when I signed up to be a LCI. This was the League of American Bicyclist‘s national program to allow me to teach bicycle safety to the public. But before I can become a LCI, I needed to take some prerequisites. Let me tell you how I spent 2 weekends pursuing this new milestone.

What is LCI?


LCI stands for League Certified Instructor.  This is a nationally recognized certification in which a trained instructor is given the opportunities to train other people, including adults, children, law enforcement officers, and anyone who is willing to learn.  The focus of LCI training is bicycling safety and effectively so, so that we will have more informed and educated bicycle riders on the street, which will reduce accidents and increase awareness of bicyclists on the road. I think this will help me when I led bicycle tours as I would be more marketable and I would actually have the appropriate skills that people may be looking for. It also doesn’t hurt that LCIs are constantly being sought after to conduct classes and get paid for it. We’re also insured for our classes as well. All win-win situations for me.

What are the prerequisites?


Before you can even be part of the LCI class, you must take the TS 101 course.  This is the Traffic Skills 101 course in which you go through a review of how to handle a bicycle, as well as general bicycling safety skills.  I attended the class on March 8, 2014 in Pasadena at the Day One Center.  My instructor, Javier Hernandez, was a fairly new LCI who was certified about a year ago. He is also the Director of Bike SGV.  Bike SGV is a non-profit organization which focuses on the bike issues in or around the San Gabriel Valley.  This organization covers multiple cities in the area.  We’ll get into Bike SGV later as I plan to volunteer more for this great organization.
We were also joined by 3 other new LCIs: Jackson, Daniel, and Brian.  These guys were very energetic and eager to show us their knowledge.  I was very impressed by their wealth of knowledge and professionalism.  All 4 instructors tag teamed to deliver the information we needed to know.  It definitely showed that they were very prepared to teach this class as each individual took on a subject and knocked it out of the park.

What’s covered in TS 101?


The class consisted of 3 sections: a classroom review, a riding portion, and an exam.  The classroom and riding took the majority of the day as you may imagine.  There was a lot of material to cover and we started at 9am and didn’t wrap up until close to 5pm.  Some general topics included lane positioning, evasive maneuvering, and bicycle maintenance.  There is definitely more than this, but you’ll have to take TS 101 for yourself.  I highly recommend it to everyone, whether you’ve been riding for a long time or just started, you should take TS 101.  I guarantee you’ll learn something new.

On track for LCI


The next thing you need to do before you can even sign up for LCI training is join the League of American Bicyclists.  The fee is about $70 a year, and membership allows you to sign-up for LCI training.  My class took place for 3 days on March 21 to March 23, 2014.  Even before you start the first day, we had homework from our instructor, Jim Baross.   We were to prepare for 2 presentations: 1 group and 1 individual.  He assigned us topics to go over and present to the class.  I covered bicycle equipment and clothing for the group portion and cadence, gear shifting, and power output for my individual presentation.  Another prerequisite was to pass the assessment test with an 85% or better.  I actually missed it by 1%, but Jim was gracious to allow me review my incorrect answers and gave me the opportunity to answer them again.  I passed with a 92% even without redoing the essay portion.

What was covered in LCI training?


LCI training was very similar to TS 101 except that we divided and dissected the material in detail.  The majority of the class was really focused around presentation and teaching skills. Day 1 was an introduction and review of our assessment tests.  It was also an opportunity for us to understand key concepts from the course.  We had about 15 students so getting through the presentations took the majority of day 2 and 3. Day 2 also included opportunities for each person to teach 3 riding skills to our peers.  We went over the quick stop, quick turn, and rock dodge.  We also had a night ride in which we checked out our light systems and each of our riding gear.  It was interesting to see what people chose to wear to be most reflective.  A good take away from that were bike pedals with reflectors are very good for visibility.   If you don’t have them, get those reflective ankle straps.  It makes you more visible and easily identifiable as a cyclist when you’re riding at night. Day 3 continued with our individual presentations and then an opportunity for each attendee to lead a ride through the community. The route was a 5 mile loop around the city of El Monte. We rode through the loop twice: once with all 15 of us the second time around with our own groups so we can teach what we learned to each other.

Final Thoughts


I thoroughly enjoyed both TS 101 and LCI training.  I only wonder if this is something others would enjoy only if they have a passion for bicycling like myself and all the other folks in the class.  I learned a tremendous amount of information and can’t wait to help facilitate a few classes before I start teaching my own courses.  It will be great to have the opportunity to get more informed cyclists out on the road so that we can reduce bicycle collisions and fatalities.  I’m actually going to another training course for Adventure Cycling Association, which will focus primarily on leading bicycle tours.  This takes place in Buellton, CA from March 31 to April 3, 2014.  I can’t wait to learn more about my favorite subject in life right now.  I’ll be sure to let you know how that goes once I’m done with it.  But for now, stay tuned for more up-to-the-minute updates on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds.  Lots of photos and quick updates on my progress can be found there.

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