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LCI Spotlight: Caryn Davis
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 share the stories of League Cycling Instructors doing what they do daily: 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.
March is Women’s History Month, and we’re continuing to recognize and celebrate the people who are not only creating more opportunities for women to embrace the cycle but women leading the industry!
Meet our latest League Cycling Instructor in the spotlight: Caryn Davis. Caryn owned Bloomington Cycle and Fitness, a bike shop and Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business in Bloomington, Illinois, for 13+ years. We gave a shout-out to Bloomington Cycle and Fitness and other women-owned Bicycle Friendly Businesses on our blog during last year’s Women’s History Month. Check it out.
Caryn sold the bike shop to Specialized in 2022, and Caryn’s daughter has been managing it since, with an amazing staff that will carry on employing more women. After starting a women’s cycling community called Spokeswomen that hosts weekly rides, Caryn now spends her days continuing to inspire bike joy among new and seasoned women riders. Find our earlier LCI Spotlights in our blog archives.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHY YOU ENJOY TEACHING OTHERS TO BIKE.
I became an LCI after the first time I attended the National Bike Summit in DC. I went to lobby for better infrastructure, and after spending much of the week learning about the great work others were doing with bike education, I was hooked and couldn’t wait to add that to my advocacy efforts.
The biggest reason I enjoy teaching is sharing the pure joy I feel when riding and helping others move from “curious” to comfortable and confident. When you see that light up in someone on a bike, it’s just the best feeling.
WHAT FIRST MOTIVATED YOU TO BECOME AN LCI?
Learn how to get more involved in cycling education in the Smart Cycling section of our website.
When I became involved in advocating locally, I recognized the need for action and education to address the push-back from community members that felt cycling on the road was dangerous. Our area had lots of folks advocating and pushing city officials but no quantifiable efforts to address safety concerns. Becoming an LCI and offering classes in our area felt like a healthy and responsible answer to the arguments that were happening in our city council meetings.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE FOR AN LCI WHO WANTS TO TEACH A CLASS BUT ISN’T SURE HOW TO GET STARTED?
Reach out to an experienced LCI to team-teach with you. It made all the difference in the world in gaining comfort and confidence in the role. I team-teach with wonderful LCIs like Cynthia Hoyle from Champaign.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST REWARD IN TEACHING BIKE EDUCATION.
Hearing women tell me I gave them confidence and a sense of community through the rides I lead. I have consistently hosted a weekly women-only ride every summer since 2009. It started as “just a ride”, but it became a way for me to build community and educate women in a fun, non-intimidating way on everything from tire pressure, rules of the road, and group-ride etiquette to changing a flat and basic bike maintenance. It is one of my proudest accomplishments as a bike shop owner, especially when I reflect on the friends I have made and other women who tell me of the friends and experiences they have had in our community they would never have otherwise.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU THINK THAT ALL LCIS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT TEACHING BIKE EDUCATION?
We teach bike skills, but it’s more about building awareness and confidence.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT BEING ON A BIKE?
How lost or present you can get in the rhythm of it all! It’s my favorite way to be meditative on my own and my favorite way to socialize with friends. It is where I truly understand the “mind-body connection”.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY FROM BEING ON A BIKE?
Know an LCI we should feature? Nominate a stellar bike educator here!
I have so many it feels impossible to pick just one – but the feeling of independence and self-sufficiency as a kid still resonates in me every time I ride a bike. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of the Apple Cider Century in Three Oaks, Michigan, every summer. I still love visiting that area and hope to catch that ride again someday.