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LCI Spotlight: Lisa Evans and Sandy Charles

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. 

When we asked our members to nominate LCIs doing inspiring work in their communities, one of the first people nominated was Lisa Evans due to her “initiative to find ways to interact and help people, even in the pandemic” and her efforts to empower asylum seekers and immigrants with a bike and biking skills. When we reached out to Lisa to feature her work, she wanted to ensure the spotlight also shone on Sandy Charles, a fellow LCI and Lisa’s partner in getting bikes and biking education to people in their community. 

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“This whole bike donation thing started with me getting a bike for an asylum seeker from Central America for whom I was part of a support group, and helping her learn safe cycling and local routes. Then other individuals … contacted me about someone else needing a bike and I found one  for them, too, and did some instruction. And so on! Then Sandy joined me and we started helping the city with kid bikes for donations and were looking at providing bikes to high school students who are part of the local school district’s Newcomer program,” Lisa wrote to us.

Learn how to become an LCI in the Smart Cycling section of our website

Meet Lisa and Sandy, two LCIs making biking better through education and advocacy in Fort Collins, Colorado

What, if any, advocacy group, club, or bike organization are you a part of?

Lisa Evans (in the green shirt) leading a group of people on bikes. 

Lisa: Fort Collins Bike Ambassadors, Safe Routes to Schools, Bike Fort Collins

Sandy: Bike Fort Collins, Fort Collins Bike Ambassadors

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

Sandy: Well!  I love working with kids of many ages and coaching them on how to be safe while travelling in this mode. I get great satisfaction listening to their dawning awareness of a healthier and less polluting method of travel.

Lisa: I’m a firm believer in the need for bikes and cars to share the roads, and that the way to do that is for cyclists to behave in a way that develops respect from drivers. So while I love sharing my passion for biking with others and being outdoors with other cyclists, my real focus is to make us all safer!  

What first motivated you to become an LCI?

Lisa: I’ve been an avid cyclist since my college days, and after retiring from a career in wildlife/natural resources education, this seemed like a perfect fit for me. I started with Safe Routes, and then Bike Ambassadors, and the training was offered as part of my work there.

Sandy: I wanted to participate in the local bicycle educational programs through our Safe Routes to School organization.

What has been your greatest reward in teaching bike education?

Sandy: Watching students’ transformation when they learn to ride, when they are awed by our bike trails through the woods and along the river and open prairie, and the sense of independence and confidence they gain as older riders getting from one destination to another without a car.

Lisa: Probably doing adult learn-to-ride classes and seeing the new riders excited about the possibilities for future riding. I get the same satisfaction from our bike donation efforts, which go to immigrants who need a bike for local transportation and might not otherwise be able to afford one.

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

Lisa: Team up with someone who has done it. If there isn’t anyone local, start small with just a few students. People are so happy to be in the class – they don’t care if you don’t get it perfect the first time. 

Sandy: Partner with an experienced instructor.

What is something you think that all LCIs should know about teaching bike education.

Lisa: You are giving your students a gift of freedom and confidence.

Sandy: There is a sense of confidence that develops about your place on the road that can be expressed through your physical presence and stature on your bicycle.

What is your favorite thing about being on a bike?

Lisa: That’s a tough one! Getting exercise, being outdoors, being able to see lots of scenery on one ride, feeling good about not being in my car for errands.

Sandy: There are many… Fresh air. Using my muscles. The surrounding area. Getting to places that cars can’t go. Quietly viewing wildlife.