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LCI Spotlight: Jamie Miernik

The League certifies hundreds of League Cycling Instructors every year and there are thousands of LCIs across 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, and 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.

This month, we’re catching up with Jamie Miernik, an LCI based in Huntsville, Alabama. Jamie is a longtime National Bike Summit attendee and is one of the few dozen who scored a spot in our first-ever League Cycling Advocate training following the Summit this year.

Jamie’s nominator says, “She has been the Alabama state coordinator for the National Bike Summit’s Lobby Day for nearly two decades! Year after year, Jamie continues to show up and speak up for safer, better cycling. She’s a reliable powerhouse who makes things happen, and we love to see all aspects of her work for bicycling in Alabama.” 

Jamie is a member of every bike advocacy organization she can find, including Marshall Space Flight Center’s Team Redstone Alliance for Cycling (MTRAC), Spring City Cycling Club (SCCC)/Rocket City Cycle Belles (RCCB), Huntsville Bicycle Advisory and Safety Committee (BASC), Huntsville Urban Bike Share Coop (HUBS). She’s also the founder of the Alabama Bicycle Coalition (AlaBike).

Know an inspiring LCI we should feature next? Nominate a stellar bike educator here! 

Tell us a little about yourself and why you enjoy teaching bike education.

Being from Minneapolis, I grew up riding a bike as a means to get to the park, school, softball, and basketball games. I am very comfortable riding for transportation and like to help others be able to enjoy bike transportation, too. Now that I live in Alabama, teaching kids to ride is a great way to nurture considerate, future drivers. I would call myself a cycling advocate just as much as an educator.

How does your experience compare as a cyclist and advocate in those different states?

In Minnesota, you don’t have to push too hard as a cycling advocate to make things happen. Seattle wasn’t too bad either – it’s been thirty years since I lived there, but even back then it was pretty easy to ride in Seattle!

In Alabama, much of the conversation is around how unsafe it is to ride because there’s a lack of facilities, very few bike lanes, and even sidewalks are kind of spotty. Part of this struggle is our state constitution – the longest, most complex state constitution in the United States – which makes it tricky for communities to take local action for safer streets. On the positive side, we’ve seen some erosion of that barrier in the past few years, including successfully advocating for a three-foot passing law. Alabama is also a lot more scenic than you might have heard – we’ve got lots of mountain biking and recreational road biking! 

How did you become involved with the national bicycle advocacy movement?

In 2003, a group of friends and I got inspired and founded the Alabama Bicycling Coalition, now known as AlaBike. We were invited to the National Bike Summit in 2004 as part of an initiative to bring someone in from every state. I was the only Alabamian there, but the group from Georgia took me under their wing and LAB scheduled all my lobby day meetings. At that first Summit, I met with all nine Alabama congressmen in one day! In the year following, AlaBike got incorporated as a 501c3 and we’ve had board members or cycling advocates attend every year since. 

What first motivated you to become an LCI?

I began to assist a friend who was an LCI to teach some classes. I see the need to train folks how to ride in traffic and how to find the best route by bike.

I also love supporting safety on a larger scale by supporting big cycling events. I’m known for carrying around these huge, bright green “Caution: Bikes on Road” signs to all the century rides in the state. My mission is to bring safety to cyclists whenever I can!

What is your best piece of advice for an LCI who wants to teach a class but isn’t sure how to get started?

Finding students for a cycling class can be challenging. When we first started the women’s division of our bike club was when I taught the largest cycling class ever. Sometimes a large company or hospital may have a health initiative to encourage their employees to ride bikes or to commute by bike, and they would sponsor a class. If you can find interest in teaching cycling in PE classes, that’s a good audience. But, scheduling Bike Rodeos at other events is a way to reach kids, too!

Give us an interesting or funny fact about you.

My husband and I scheduled our wedding and honeymoon to ride in Italy during the Giro d’Italia and met Miguel Indurain at the hotel.

What is your favorite thing about being on a bike?

I like it all. I have always liked to ride a bike for transportation around town, especially on vacations. I also have raced on the road, mountain biked, rode with bike clubs, and enjoyed big organized weekend century rides.

What is your favorite memory from being on a bike?

Riding in the Pyrenees on the Tour de France “rest day” riding over the Col de Tourmalet!

Jamie Miernik with the Rocket City Belles, all wearing cycling attire and medals.
Jamie Miernik (bottom right) with the Rocket City Belles

Jamie’s bicycle advocacy career has spanned multiple decades and dozens of organizations. But we’re excited to celebrate that a new chapter is beginning! Just last week, Jamie officially retired from her day job as a Chemical Engineer at Boeing. She says, “I’ve always done bicycle advocacy in my spare time on nights and weekends, so I’m excited that all my time now can be dedicated to the work for better, safer biking.” We can’t wait to see how Jamie will continue pushing the bike movement forward in Alabama!