This is part two of our continuing series on League Certified Instructors. Be sure to check out part one from yesterday, to learn more about the resources available to you here in the Twin Cities.
I was one of nine cyclists who devoted Friday evening, all of Saturday and most of Sunday this past weekend to completing the League of American Bicyclists League Certified Instructor (LCI) training course. It was big time commitment and a lot of work, but well worth the effort.
We began our work at 5:00PM on Friday evening with a review of Traffic Skills 101 (TS-101) material and training on presentation skills. The TS-101 refresher was useful because I had taken TS 101 last summer, and while I remembered virtually of the main points, some of the details had gotten a little hazy, but more importantly, because presenting the TS-101 material to others was a new experience for most of the class, the presentation discussion was especially useful.
The Smart Cycling curriculum covered in TS-101 is simply too much material to get your arms by a refresher review. Therefore, well before the first day of our LCI class, the other students and I received an instructor’s manual in a 3-ring binder, a handful of booklets addressing specific focus areas (teaching children, TS-101, etc.) and a series of schematics and diagrams to study before our class even started. To make sure we had mastered the content, all of the LCI candidates had to complete a pre-qualification exam and achieve a satisfactory score to be admitted to LCI training.
This level of preparation is important because not only will and LCI need to be expert in all aspects of the material, but we will need to be able to effectively instruct children, adults and seniors and keep control of the class. Therefore, a lot of time in our LCI training was devoted not to specific Smart Cycling content, but to learning effective presentation skills and delivering actual presentations to our students and instructors in both solo and team presentations.
LCI training is not “book work”, however. There is also a robust set of parking lot skill tests that we as LCI candidates need to be able to execute consistently and teach to others. To do that, we need to learn how to set-up and run skill drills efficiently, communicate the skills and be able to demonstrate that ability by doing so to our fellow students and instructors in our final assessment.
But wait – there’s more! An important component of the training involves on-the-road education. We learned how to prepare students of diverse backgrounds for on-road rides to build traffic skills and confidence. Doing this safely requires that we plan the route carefully, make sure that the students are prepared for the challenges that they will face, and that we are able to keep control of our class during the on-road work.
I found that I did well on the TS-101 content (I showed up to class “book smart”) and because of my daily riding and TS-101 experience, the road test and applied use of Smart Cycling methods was pretty easy for me. I have also gained a lot of presentation experience from work, so that was easier for me than some of the other students. What was most challenging for me was the parking lot skills – these are something that I practice, but not at a speed slow enough to effectively demonstrate them. I have some homework to do there before I take on a class. I also learned a lot (both “do’s” and “don’ts”) from watching so many student presentations.
This was a rigorous training experience by any measure – it took a time committment as well as independent study time beforehand to be successful during the training sessions. That said, I have to say that the LCI training format is very effective, and I feel very prepared to working to assist other LCI’s to deliver training for school groups, employers, church groups, clubs or any other group that requests training, and relying on the skills we learned.
Information on upcoming TS-101, LCI and other training opportunities can be found at the Bike Alliance of Minnesota’s website at this location.