Meet our instructors: Ken

February 26, 2019

How long have you been teaching transportation cycling courses with HUB Cycling? Which courses do you most commonly teach?

Just over two years. I teach Learn2Ride courses for students in grades 4 & 5

What made you want to become a cycling instructor?

It’s bringing a sense of freedom and independence to people. Many people are scared to ride on the road and teaching safe cycling skills opens the whole world to a person. It brings exploration on a level you can’t achieve from inside a bus or a car.

What does a typical day look like during the instructional season?

Day 1 of Learn2Ride is about getting to know a bit of the kids and what they want to learn. In every class, there are hands reaching up to ask questions and share stories about their biking experience. But the real excitement comes the next day.

Day 2 of Learn2Ride is a full of smiling faces and learning for everyone. The kids are totally jazzed up. They are buzzing to get on their bikes and ride. As a team, HUB Instructors help them learning riding skills and getting to understand things like the basic concepts of four-way intersections.

At the end of the day I usually check in with the teachers before leaving the school and the kids are beaming and stoked about what they learnt. Often the teachers are saying this was the best day of the whole school year. You can’t beat that!

Are you involved in the cycling community more broadly in South Surrey / White Rock?

I frequently do shopping and errands out here and I see the cycling for transportation community is growing on the Semiahmoo Peninsula. I keep this in mind when I advocate for better cycling facilities in White Rock and South Surrey. The Surrey / White Rock HUB Local Committee is a great way to learn from other people who ride about the issues facing cyclists out here.

Through 2017-18 I was working with the local committee to help the City of Surrey staff understand the unique challenges of cycling from South Surrey and White Rock to anywhere else in Metro Vancouver. After working with local cycling recreation groups we lobbied staff as an informal coalition. They got the message but sadly the newly elected council has decided to stop funding cycling improvements in Surrey. But that is the life of a cycling advocate. Politics changes the landscape. And I love that challenge.

What skills make a good cycling instructor?

I have found that whether teaching kids or adults, there is an element of fear when riding a bike in traffic and around cars. That fear is healthy, but a good cycling instructor listens very closely and works with the person to help them gain the confidence and trust in themself to become a great cyclist.

What do you feel are skills you’ve gained or things you’ve learned through being a cycling instructor?

Occasionally I’ll work with people who have what many would think is a barrier for them to ride their bike safely. I have worked closely with children who have autism, are blind, or are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Facing these challenges I figure out how we, as a team, can work to get them to ride to the best of their abilities. So what I have learned and further developed is patience and understanding while reaching out to the team for ideas and suggestions to get people to be successfully riding their bikes.

What are some challenges you’ve faced as an instructor? Successes?

In one school I was working with an incredibly enthusiastic child who was blind and I later found out had autism as well. I felt strongly that I couldn’t leave him behind when his classmates took to the streets learning skills. Liaising with the Education Coordinator and other instructors we figured out a way for him to be included. Another instructor, Lisa, brought her cargo bike out to the school and we let the child feel the bike to get a sense of what it was. Then the child rode in the cargo area while Lisa pedalled around the school neighbourhood with them. They came back to the school and the entire class celebrated together how we all -- teachers, assistants, the class, and HUB instructors worked to get the child out on the road.

This is part 5 of a 5 part series featuring cycling instructors on our Bike Education Team. We’re hiring Bike Instructors for our spring season, for more info check out the job posting here.