BICP Fundamental Skills Instructor Certification – Event Recap

Written by Allie Hurtgen

Just in time for riding season, NWTA now has three new BICP Certified Fundamental Skills Instructors! The three-day course took place on March 25 – 27 at Gateway Green and was led by coach and instructor, Elaine Bothe. We were joined by an instructor in training, Molly with the Cycle Effect in Colorado, and riders from Rhododendron and Wenatchee.

Over the weekend we learned BICP’s teaching method for 19 different bike skills. Elaine shared the best practices she’s learned throughout her years coaching, which was invaluable! To obtain our Level 1Certification, we had to demonstrate our ability to execute those skills, teach two of them to the group, and pass a written exam. 

Learning how to teach proved more challenging than we originally thought. It was humbling to learn the different steps involved in skills we often overlook. Did you know there are actual steps to take when shifting gears? Turns out you don’t just push the lever and hope for the best…who knew? “I now feel I have the correct words to break a skill into smaller pieces and explain it to newer riders,” Nancy shared.

Part of the curriculum also included error detection, which was arguably harder than learning to teach. We all took turns intentionally doing something wrong to test if the others could spot and correct the error. This is where Elaine’s expertise really shined! She demonstrated subtle and hard to spot errors that we would have missed before taking this course. See if you can spot the errors in these photos!

The highlight of the weekend was connecting with one another. We all share a passion for bikes and chose to become certified for the same reason: To share our passion with others, grow our mountain bike community, and increase participation in under-represented groups.

Sean recently started a mountain bike club at a local college. He shared, “I feel empowered to help riders progress, and am excited to share this knowledge with my students.” 

Nancy fields a lot of questions when leading rides for the NW Trail Sisters. “It’s clear there is an appetite from our Trail Sisters to learn and progress, and I’m excited to have the knowledge to help them do so!”

As for me, I’m stoked to give back to the community that has given me so much. I moved to Portland 3.5 years ago and made my first friends at a NW Trail Sisters event. Creating space and bringing riders together is so important, and I look forward to organizing more events and meeting all your smiling faces.

Connection is what makes the community here truly special. If you don’t believe me, consider these words from Molly, “I was immediately welcomed and felt like I belonged, which isn’t always the case in other places. The community here is strong and I can’t wait to come back!”

Keep your eyes on the NWTA events calendar for upcoming skills clinics, group rides, and community events!

A huge thank you to our partners, sponsors Portland Parks and Recreation, Project^, and River City Bicycles, and Elaine Bothe!