Two coaches elevate their skills for all

Last month, Team Orange took a giant leap forward. Norte’s Abby Havill and Lauren Dake threw themselves into an intense weekend with the Bike Instructor Certification Program (BICP), a training program that will greatly enhance our coach and rider experiences. After three days of studying and practicing, Abby and Lauren rolled away with far more than anticipated.

“I’m not sure we would have done it if we knew what it entailed,” Abby joked as she held up BICP’s thick training manual. “Lauren and I were freaking out the first night as we reviewed this manual.”

BICP provides professional training and certification for people who teach mountain bike skills. They came to northern Michigan by invitation from Lynn Wolf at the Top of Michigan Mountain Bike Association (TOMMBA).

The foundation of BICP instruction relies on fundamentals and skills developed over the last two decades. The style of teaching was a key takeaway for Lauren.

“The positive reinforcement tactic taught through BICP was helpful to experience,” she said. “It’s about framing your words always to tell them (students) what you want them to do rather than saying, ‘don’t do this.'”

One fundamental to BICP training is keeping pace with the constant evolution of bicycle technology. As mountain bikes evolve, new riding techniques and instruction are possible.

“The design of mountain bikes has evolved and changed,” said Lauren, pointing to trends in handlebar length and wheel circumference. “BICP is also about what skills you can master when you have a newer style bike and why.”

Abby said she learned of the importance of the dropper seat post, an advancement to mountain bikes that allows riders to lower their seat with the push of a button.

“The range of motion you can get on your bike — they call it bike body separation — that separation is really about being out of the saddle,” said Abby. “So now, you can drop that seat, and it’s completely out of your way. It helps with ascending, descending, and so many other moves.”

Leading up to Norte’s spring season — which begins May 2 — Lauren and Abby will be adding lessons to the curriculum. One focus is coach training in April, including a demonstrative skills class. The BICP training has also increased momentum for an elevated More Girls on Bike program. This summer, Norte will offer a series of four all-girl summer clinics, drawing on the lessons learned at BICP.

“BICP training opens a lot of doors for Norte and us,” said Abby. “I’ve mountain biked a lot. This training has made me want to get out and do it more. As a result, I’ll be a better biker and a better coach.”

Both Abby and Lauren passed their tests despite the early trepidation. As a result, they earned BICP certified level one honors with the four other students. We’re so proud of Norte’s first certified coaches. Great job, Coach Abby and Coach Lauren!

Learn from Angela Brooks on her YouTube channel: The Mountain Bike Chicks. If you’re interested to learn more about upcoming coach training or More Girls on Bikes, email


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