You may know that I am a League Coach for the League of American Bicyclists. In that capacity, I have conducted seminars across the country, certifying new League Cycling Instructors (LCIs). They then teach bicycling skills and safety in their own communities, from “Learn-To-Ride” sessions for children and adults, to bike rodeos, to road use discussions with community planners and engineers, multi-use path safety with parks and recreation staff…you name it.
I usually am called upon to conduct three to four seminars annually. Candidates come from all walks of life. I’ve worked with teachers, ophthalmologists, police officers, bike mechanics, retirees, city planners…
In the seminars, I hope to convey the love I have for bicycling, and both the passion to educate people on the skills they need to do it well and the things they should know to do it safely.
The thing I never know is how the work I do in those seminars affects the candidates. Well, not usually…At the end of each seminar, I meet with each of the candidates to let them know how they did, and to either certify them as LCIs or let them know what they need to do to become LCIs in the future. During one consultation, a candidate stopped me and said that he had something to say, about something he hadn’t told us.
Turns out he had been laid off three weeks prior. His whole world was turned upside down. He decided not to chase jobs around the country in a declining industry, but wondered what was next. He told us that the seminar completely turned his attitude around. The possibilities that it opened up excited him about his next chapter. The way he described it (hard to do in print, since it was the way he said it) was that instead of asking, “What am I going to do???” he was asking, “What am I going to do!!!”
It turns out that there is a real possibility for creating a “place to land” right near his home. A new position in the bicycling world appears to be in the works, and now that he’s an LCI, he figures he has an edge on the position. Of course, he’ll be working hard to get it, but he’s got the right attitude and is going for it. Will he get that job? I don’t know. I DO know that he left with a renewed sense of purpose. Because we talked about bike stuff! He told me so.
A friend of mine asked a question one day on facebook: “What do you want to do before you die?” My response was, “…make a difference.” I think I have, at least this once.