LCI Spotlight: Debra L Franklin
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.
Our latest League Cycling Instructor in the spotlight is a great example of a true transportation advocate — one who recognizes the joys of bicycling and the freedom it brings! Meet Debra L. Franklin, our LCI in the spotlight this month. Find our earlier LCI Spotlights in our blog archives.
As a former city bus driver, longtime bicyclist, and coach of Bicycle Oven Company in Apex, North Carolina, Debra now enjoys using her time to promote the benefits of bicycling to people of all ages in her community. Read on to learn more about Debra’s motivation behind being an LCI.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHY YOU ENJOY TEACHING OTHERS TO BIKE.
I am a transportation specialist. I focus on bicycling as it relates to transit and employment. Transit and bicycling are avenues to get to work, or bicycling by itself, as a sport, is a source of employment. So, I train individuals and groups to bicycle safely and/or competitively. Our students who are aged 2 to 80 bicycle for a variety of reasons, but we are all Bicycling on Purpose. I am working hard throughout the state of North Carolina to diversify the bicycle industry and to increase the number of skilled mechanics and instructors, who are people of color, and female.
WHAT FIRST MOTIVATED YOU TO BECOME AN LCI?
As a bus driver for the City of Charlotte (CATS), I am able to carry two bicycles on the front of my bus. I wanted to help my passengers get to their final destination by way of a bicycle versus walking. I myself obtained training from the League of American Bicyclists so I could teach those same passengers how to bicycle safely. Little did I know that many people who don’t go to bicycle shops, wanted to learn to ride, children and adults. Now I am retired from CATS but still involved in bicycle education.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST REWARD IN TEACHING BIKE EDUCATION?
I am now a USA Cycling Coach.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE FOR AN LCI WHO WANTS TO TEACH A CLASS BUT ISN’T SURE HOW TO GET STARTED?
Follow the teachings of the League. Don’t take shortcuts nor try to reinvent the wheel. The material is on the website, all types of training videos; the Hub is available and we can learn from experienced cyclists and instructors. When you are ready, form relationships by networking with groups and associates around the community, collaborate and seek invitations to present.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT BEING ON A BIKE?
I live for that moment. I am able to use all five of my senses and I am free.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY FROM BEING ON A BIKE?
I used my bicycle as a vehicle to get out my neighborhood. I was able to see the world using those two wheels!
GIVE US AN INTERESTING OR FUNNY FACT ABOUT YOU.
My dad nicknamed me “Wild Bill” because I loved cowboy movies. My horse was our broom. To this day, I go to sleep watching Gunsmoke.
Know an LCI who should be featured next? Nominate a stellar bike educator here!