Meet our instructors: Kristen
February 5, 2019
Meet Our Instructors: Kristen
How did you get involved in cycling for transportation?
Prior to joining HUB I cycled primarily for recreation and exploration. But from the first day of instructor training onward, I was immersed in a culture of active travel and bicycle commuting, and it was infectious. I began cycling to the local schools I was teaching at, then to speed up my trips to the HUB Cycling office, and also the grocery store, library, park… I was astounded at how many landmarks I could reach in Vancouver without straying from some form of designated bike route. It is certainly something to take advantage of in Vancouver.
How long have you been teaching transportation cycling courses with HUB Cycling?
I joined HUB just last year, and took part in my first season as a Bike to School Instructor in the fall.
What made you want to become a cycling instructor?
The job itself came across as the perfect blend of public education and my rapidly growing love of cycling. I would get to travel across Metro Vancouver, teaching students about a lifestyle that I support and an activity that intrigues even the toughest students. As an added bonus, I would become a part of an incredible group of like-minded cycling advocates who are better described as a community than an organization.
Which courses do you most commonly teach?
Throughout the season I jumped back and forth between leading Learn2Ride programs and Ride the Road programs. Both are subsets of HUB’s Bike to School program which is targeted at elementary school students from grade 4 to 7.
What does a typical day look like during the instructional season?
A great day will always start with a bike ride – whether it be directly to the school or maybe to the storage locker to load bicycles for transport. You’ll meet up with your wonderful fellow instructor(s), exchange stories about that morning’s ride, then the set-up routine ensues. All hands are on deck as bikes are unloaded, pylons are arranged, mock stop signs are assembled, and school staff are contacted. There is a brief ‘calm before the storm’, then a sudden wave of buzzing students emerge from around the corner… and they’re headed straight for the bikes. You may teach the same curriculum two or three times in the day, however each new group of students might require a new lesson variation, so there is a degree of unpredictability. The take-down routine mirrors the set-up so that everything and everyone is ready for the next day of teaching. And of course, a great day will always end with a bike ride.
What skills make a good cycling instructor?
Infectious enthusiasm, an interactive teaching style, patience and understanding. A successful instructor can engage a group both in the classroom and on the pavement, and encourage others while remaining cognizant that everyone has their own limits. A loud voice never hurts either.
What do you feel are skills you’ve gained or things you’ve learned through being a cycling instructor?
I’ve become far more aware of how universal bicycling is. I may visit a school with the intention of educating classes of grade 4 and 5 students, but have found that this topic draws the attention of both teachers and parents as well. I’ve witnessed ‘rules of the road’ presentations provoke heated discussions in rooms of beginner cyclists as well as ones filled with diehard cycle commuters. It’s because of this that I’m confident the cycling community will only continue to grow in the years to come.
This is part 2 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 click here.