Training Day: The Low-Down on Becoming a Certified Bike Instructor


Last month, at classroom space donated by our partners at Henry Street Settlement, Bike New York staff trained 10 new League Cycling Instructors to help us keep up with the growing demand for our classes and programs. League Cycling Instructor certification is a program of the League of American Bicyclists designed to train experienced cyclists to teach the League’s Smart Cycling Curriculum, which serves as the basis for Bike New York’s classes and programs—just as it does for virtually every other bike organization that provides bike education in their communities. Bike New York requires that our most advanced Street Skills Classes and Street Skills Rides be taught by at least one LCI. Nationwide, LCIs serve as educators, advocates, bike lawyers, club leaders, and on advisory boards. This is what Rich Conroy, our Director of Education, had to tell us about the process:


On the trainees: “This group of candidates was the youngest, most diverse, and best-prepared group that I’ve ever worked with. Eight of the candidates were already experienced instructors having taught Learn to Ride or with Bike New York’s Youth Programs. Others had worked with us as Outreach Ambassadors or volunteers, or worked with other local organizations to get more people riding. They all had a passion for teaching people to get started and feel more confident on the streets.”


On the training: “Any experienced cyclist of any age can earn an LCI Certification. ‘Experienced’ doesn’t mean one has to have done bike racing; it means that a cyclist is experienced and comfortable riding in a variety of traffic conditions, with or without bike facilities, and is knowledgeable about the basic mechanical functioning of a bike. The certification process itself is very rigorous, and candidates who earn their certification should be justifiably proud. Candidates must first complete a nine-hour “Smart Cycling” class, which provides everyone with a baseline of the League’s Smart Cycling curriculum, as well as the skills and knowledge necessary to get into an LCI Certification Seminar. The Smart Cycling class includes a 30-question exam at the end, which candidates must pass with a score of 85% or higher to register for an LCI seminar. Once they have registered for an LCI Seminar, they receive the Smart Cycling Curriculum from the League, as well as seminar activities. They must complete and pass a 70-question assessment with a score of 85% or higher before the training seminar starts, which means reviewing the curriculum materials necessary to complete the assessment. The seminar is focused on teaching, not on cycling. Candidates prepare short individual and team teaching assignments to present to the group. With each teaching assignment the candidate must give him/herself constructive feedback on what went well with their teaching and what s/he would change the next time; and all the other candidates give that person feedback as well. The idea is to not just teach the curriculum, but to be able to observe students and to offer constructive coaching to help them become more confident cyclists, so most of the seminar is focused on teaching and giving feedback. Candidates must also teach eight on-bike skill drills (again giving themselves and each other constructive feedback). The seminar is structured so that the candidates not only learn effective teaching from the LCI Coach, but from each other. An LCI should come out of the training seminar prepared to teach cycling knowledge, skills, and techniques in a way that minimizes instructor talking and maximizes students’ opportunities to practice.”


Courtney Williams, one of the trainees, had this to add:

“I was happy to have earned my LCI to compliment my advocacy work. I am already deeply involved in advocating for more bicycling access for communities of color and partnering with nonprofits to do that. However, for those organizations that do not yet know me, or have not worked with me before, I believe having my LCI adds a layer of confirmation and testimony that I am a credible and qualified source of education when it comes to helping them help their communities.”


Congrats to Courtney and the new class of certified instructors! Here they are, studying hard: