LCI Spotlight: Maylyn Co
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.
We’re continuing to shine the spotlight on League Cycling Instructors who are meeting children where they’re at with cycling education — the school system. Meet Maylyn Co, our LCI in the spotlight this month. Find our earlier LCI Spotlights in our blog archives.
Maylyn teaches Palo Alto, CA, middle school students how to ride safely & independently as a lead instructor for Wheel Kids, Inc.’s Middle School Bike Skills program. The half-day course covers an interactive review of biking basics, like basic traffic laws, then moves to on-bike training that includes a basic bike and helmet fitting and a bike ride around the neighborhood to put newly learned skills to the test.
In addition to molding the next generation of cyclists, Maylyn is a bicycle instructor for Bicycle Solutions, an injury prevention program coordinator at Stanford Health Care, a founding member of the Early Childhood Mobility Coalition and a member of the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition — we love to see our LCIs rooted in all avenues of bicycle education!
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHY YOU ENJOY TEACHING OTHERS TO BIKE.
Born and raised in California, I remember always playing outdoors. Somehow, I found myself as an adult not remembering when the last time I rode a bicycle was until I landed my first career job as a health educator for Santa Clara County Public Health Department. My role would be to encourage and educate students participating in our Safe Routes to School program. In 2009, I took my first TS 101 class in San Francisco – what a rush! It was a wonderful feeling riding a bicycle again and to think I hadn’t ridden since I was a kid. I was that kid with a Barbie bicycle with streamers.
A couple of years later, in 2012, I became a certified LCI and there was no turning back. Fast forward to 2022, I never thought I’d be the educator/LCI I am today. What I enjoy the most about teaching is knowing that I make a difference in keeping people safe on the roads, but more importantly that everyone can ride a bicycle too. With the increase in ridership since the pandemic, my work as an LCI is even more crucial. Living in a car-centric society, it is fulfilling to see more bicyclists out on the road today. As the Injury Prevention Program Coordinator at Stanford Health Care, I have the opportunity in a bigger role to find ways to reduce injuries coming into our trauma center. It brings joy knowing that I get to be amongst the LCIs in my area to make a difference and educate.
WHAT FIRST MOTIVATED YOU TO BECOME AN LCI?
Admittedly, we were encouraged to get certified by our department in 2012. At the time, I didn’t quite see the value of becoming an LCI but I knew that one cannot talk the talk without walking the walk. Reflecting back, I’m so glad that I was offered the opportunity to be certified. I look forward to renewing my certification; it is a reminder of how far I’ve come.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST REWARD IN TEACHING BIKE EDUCATION?
Teaching my first client “how to ride” a bicycle. What a feeling it was to see the pure joy on their face once they started to pedal on their own without assistance. There is no bigger reward. It is a humbling experience.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE FOR AN LCI WHO WANTS TO TEACH A CLASS BUT ISN’T SURE HOW TO GET STARTED?
Network. Outreach. Start by finding a local LCI in your area or a class similar to what you hope to teach (if available). In my years of teaching, I am constantly wanting to learn and seek advice from those around me. You might make a friend or two!
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU THINK THAT ALL LCIS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT TEACHING BIKE EDUCATION?
LCIs should know that people look to you for all the answers, but there is no magic wand. Coming from an injury prevention background and educating on different disciplines, all we want to do is keep everyone safe. The best we can do is provide the educational tools and resources so that people can prevent/reduce their risk for injuries. When I go out to teach, I remind myself who my audience is and to be flexible in my approach. Children, adults and older adults learn differently. Moreover, it is important to establish a connection with your audience. From then on, teaching becomes a breeze!
GIVE US AN INTERESTING OR FUNNY FACT ABOUT YOU.
I’ve named all of my teaching bicycles. My bicycle, which I cannot ever see myself without, is Mr. Blue Crush (purchased in 2010 from a bike expo at the Cow Palace). Call me crazy, but each time I go out to teach, I have a pep talk with my teaching bicycles. I’ll say things like, “Mr. Blue Crush, are you ready to teach our morning class of 12 families?” When class is over, I’ll make sure to thank my bicycles for providing their services and keeping us safe on the road!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY FROM BEING ON A BIKE?
My favorite memory was the day I purchased Mr. Blue Crush. It was November 2010 when my friends and I went to a bike expo at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, CA. I met this man who was selling this beautiful used blue bicycle. He pointed to me and said, “This bike has your name written all over it.” I said, “Me?” I took it for a test ride and instantly fell in love! The bike was bigger than me. To this day, I cannot touch the ground, but Mr. Blue Crush was made for me. 12 years and many adventures later, Mr. Blue Crush and I have taught thousands of people how to ride and how to be safe on the roads here in California.
Know an LCI who should be featured next? Nominate a stellar bike educator here!