DISCOVER YOUR LOCAL BICYCLING COMMUNITY
Find local advocacy groups, bike shops, instructors, clubs, classes and more!
LCI Spotlight: Arlete Hodel
The League certifies hundreds of League Cycling Instructors every year and there are thousands of LCIs around the country leading bike education efforts in their communities. In our LCI spotlight series, we are sharing the stories of League Cycling Instructors doing what they do every day: educating, mentoring, empowering. You don’t have to be an extraordinary athlete or overachieving student to be a stellar LCI, all you need is the conviction that life is better for everyone when more people ride bikes.
From inside the classroom to on the bike trails — we love to learn about those encouraging people of all ages to join the bicycle movement! Meet our latest LCI Spotlight Arlete Hodel. Find our earlier LCI Spotlights in our blog archives.
“Arlete is a tireless educator,” said Deb Banks, who nominated Arlete for the LCI Spotlight. “As a retired school teacher turned bicycle instructor, she brings her enthusiasm and expertise to bike clubs for grade schoolers, and to older adults too!”
Following a career in the classroom, Arlete now volunteers her time doing bike light giveaways, staffing bicycle repair days and teaching classes for bicycle advocacy group Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates in Sacramento, California. Read more about her bike journey below.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHY YOU ENJOY TEACHING OTHERS TO BIKE.
I retired from 31 years as an elementary school teacher in 2003 and my favorite grades were 5th-8th. I loved my job. Moving on, I quickly discovered the joys and challenges of self-contained bicycle touring and completed 5 long tours and rode about 25K miles. On the route across the southern tier states, I challenged a 4th-grade class to read as many pages as I rode. I also kept in touch by sending small mementos back to the class – enough so every student could have one at the end of the journey. Teaching and sharing were still in my blood.
In 2014, a friend forwarded an email, from the school district we’d both taught in, that started out “Are you a retired educator who likes to ride a bike?” That was me for sure.
WHAT FIRST MOTIVATED YOU TO BECOME AN LCI?
I was a retired school teacher who loved riding her bike. N Natomas Jibe (previously called N Natomas Transportation Management Association) was looking for LCIs who could work with 5th graders at local schools to teach Project Ride Smart: a 10-hour bicycle driver education course that includes basic traffic principles, bike-handling, and on-street practice. This was the perfect part-time job for me and perfectly paired two things I really enjoy. Becoming an LCI at the age of 65 was not easy, by the way, but I made it. I’ve been part of Project Ride Smart ever since, teaching the course for many years, then mentoring others as they began teaching, and now I help as a ride leader for the on-street portion.
Learn how to become an LCI in the Smart Cycling section of our website.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST REWARD IN TEACHING BIKE EDUCATION?
I’m making a difference. In a good way. Just two examples here:
In 2020, Jibe gave me the opportunity to develop a new program, Better on Bikes, which consists of six weekly online classes covering bicycle education, simple bike maintenance, and local riding tips and ideas plus optional weekly office hours for bike handling practice and neighborhood rides. The program is designed for mature adults, 50 years or older, with the goal of increasing bicycle ridership, confidence, and knowledge. The program has been quite successful. The fourth set of classes is set for this spring. A group was formed at the end of the first set of classes so we could continue riding together. It’s called Arlete’s BIG (Bicycle Interest Group). In year one, 44 cyclists rode 30,676 miles and wonderful friendships were formed. Especially significant because this all happened during Covid. Arlete’s BIG is now in year two and there are now 75 members with organized rides every day of the week and Better on Bikes graduates lead many of them.
Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates has also provided excellent opportunities to share my skills. I taught an Urban Cycling class in Rancho Cordova, created some bicycle education material for their website, presented bicycle workshops, and created and led organized rides for their business partners. I am really looking forward to mentoring a group of soon-to-be LCIs this spring and summer.
Coming next: I was just appointed to the Sacramento County Bicycle Advisory Committee. Hopefully, I will continue to make a difference in a good way.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE FOR AN LCI WHO WANTS TO TEACH A CLASS BUT ISN’T SURE HOW TO GET STARTED?
Start volunteering. Show local advocacy organizations that you have the enthusiasm and a skill set they want to work with. The best is to find a mentor who will be encouraging, give thoughtful feedback, and share resources and ideas.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU THINK THAT ALL LCIS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT TEACHING BIKE EDUCATION?
If you work hard, offer a quality product, and create positive relationships, you will be successful.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT BEING ON A BIKE?
Life is better when you ride a bike.
GIVE US AN INTERESTING OR FUNNY FACT ABOUT YOU.
When I’m not on my bike, I’m probably sewing something.
Know an LCI who should be featured next? Nominate a stellar bike educator here!