LCI Spotlight: Tina Chan
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, 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 Tina Chan, a Massachusetts-based LCI who works with MassBike and Boston Cyclists Union. MassBike offers bike classes on a wide variety of topics, working with schools and institutions throughout the state to provide cycling education to people of all ages.
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.
I learned to ride a bicycle as a child. I rode my bike as an adult to exercise and save money. While these reasons are still true today, I also ride my bike for environmental reasons. My bike is one way I am caring for the planet and not contributing to the climate crisis. I also volunteer as the sustainability coordinator for my profession’s national association where I encourage members to think and act sustainably.
Part of my day job includes teaching. Since my bicycle is my transportation, my teaching role and love for bikes are a perfect combination. I enjoy teaching children and adults about bike education so that they are empowered every time they ride a bike.
What first motivated you to become an LCI?
I wanted to be more involved with the bike advocacy community and to share with others my passion for bike education. Becoming an LCI was a fantastic opportunity to do both. I am also able to use my teaching, public speaking, and interpersonal skills as an LCI.
What has been your greatest reward in teaching bike education?
I enjoy seeing people’s happy faces as they learn new skills and gain new knowledge. I love when people say how fun biking is. Their positive energy is contagious!
What is your best piece of advice for an LCI who wants to teach a class but isn’t sure how to get started?
Talk to other LCIs to get their experiences and advice on how to get started. If you don’t know any LCIs, contact your local bike advocacy organization to see if they know any LCIs that they can put you in touch with. Also, the League has local resources to search for LCIs in your area. Meeting other LCIs is a great networking opportunity!
What is something you think that all LCIs should know about teaching bike education?
As with any kind of teaching, be patient, encouraging, and flexible. New riders may be frustrated with themselves when learning new skills. Reinforcing encouragement and positive feedback can go a long way. Also, be flexible with the lesson plan if things don’t go as planned. You may need to spend more time teaching one part of the lesson plan, and that’s okay. Flexibility is key to a successful bike class.
What is your favorite thing about being on a bike?
I don’t think I can limit my favorite thing to only one. If I can cheat and give three things, it would be I love the freedom, joy, and movement that being on a bike brings.
What is your favorite memory from being on a bike?
I remember being so happy and proud of myself when I first learned to ride a bike as a child! It was easier than I thought. I wanted to keep going because I had so much fun!