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Executive Director of the USMCA - Lindsey Scheltema

Dave's out, so Dale flies solo with the Executive Director of the USMCA, Lindsey Scheltema! Lindsey shares the organization's primary initiative and discusses the importance of teaching new riders proper riding techniques while providing recommendations for better rider safety.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Pit Pass Moto!

Note: This transcript is machine generated and may contain spelling and grammatical errors.

[00:00:17.340] - Dale

Welcome to Pit Pass Moto, the show that keeps you up to speed on the latest in motorcycling and brings the biggest names in the motorcycle industry right to you. I'm Dale Spangler, and this week, Dave's out, but we have an awesome guest in studio. We have USMCA. Executive Director Lindsey Scheltema. Moto America is the homeowner, Mayma Superbike and North America's premier motorcycle road racing series, with some of the best motorcycle racing on two wheels. Rewatch every round of the 2022 series and catch all the action from each race with the Moto America Live Plus video on demand streaming service. Or visit the Moto America YouTube channel for race highlights and original video content. Look for a complete 2020 free schedule coming [email protected] And be sure to follow Moto America on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for real time series updates. We'd like to welcome to Pit Pass Moto. She's the executive director of the United States Motorcycle Coaching Association, Lindsey Scheltema. Lindsey, how are you doing today?


[00:01:24.040] - Lindsey

I am just great. I'm in southwest Michigan, and we have a ton of snow, and it's beautiful outside.


[00:01:33.130] - Dale

Oh, wow. So you got some of that crazy lake effect snow that came into the whole Great Lakes region. I saw where Buffalo is, like 6ft of snow or something.


[00:01:41.850] - Lindsey

Yeah, no, we did not get that much, but, I mean, we're definitely about a foot. It's a lot.


[00:01:48.240] - Dale

Everything's in extremes lately, it seems like, these days.


[00:01:51.280] - Lindsey

Yeah, no kidding.


[00:01:52.740] - Dale

Well, let's talk a little bit about your position at the USMCA, which is, as I mentioned, United States Motorcycle Coaching Association. This is something that I've been seeing a lot over the last couple of years, and I've mentioned it here and there in our show and even talked about it with some other athletes. So I wanted to talk about where this all came about. So I was reading on the website you have, which is great, super informative, that the US MCA kind of equals it's a unified vision of growing the sport of motorcycling through great coaching. And that just seems like such a great statement. But, yeah, let's let's talk about, like, how did this whole thing come about and who are the players involved and how gendered up where you're at today.


[00:02:31.890] - Lindsey

Yeah, so the simplest way to put it is we're just setting a standard in the sport of motorcycling. Before the Motorcycle Coaching Association, there was nothing and anybody and everybody could say they were a coach, I'm a dirt bike coach, or I'm a track day coach, but there was no legitimization behind what kind of training and what kind of skill sets they were required to have. More specifically, the main purpose of this was the fact that every other USA sport is required to hold a coaching association. And this is something that we learned back prior to the start of our existence, which was 2016. In order to be considered a USA sport, you're required to hold a coaching association within your sport. We were the only one that didn't do that, and we were the only ones that weren't requiring anything of our coaches in the sport. I mean, it's seriously a simple question. How are we supposed to be taken as seriously as baseball and basketball and all these other stick in ball sports when we aren't legitimizing ourselves with our coaching association? The people that are coaching tomorrow's? Great stars.


[00:03:39.720] - Dale

Yeah, I hadn't even really thought about that aspect of it just being kind of all over the place, like all over the map without any kind of uniformity, like you say, you don't really know what you're getting into. I mean, without digging in and doing some kind of a deep background check on a person, you really don't know who you're getting involved with. So that's one aspect of it. Right?


[00:03:58.900] - Lindsey

Well, that's the biggest thing. And at the end of the day, there's a lot of people out there that really shouldn't be coaching young athletes. So here's the standard that we set. And one of our goals in 2023 is to build more upon this. But as a basic level 100 certified coach, you need to pass a national background screening. You're certified in CPR and first aid. You go through sport safety training so you can manage and detect concussions, heat, illness, and cardiac issues. You go through a series of videos that go over coaching somebody through their first ride to answering assignments of hypothetical situations, what you would do in certain situations. And then we do reference calls. So we call two to three references of people that understand your coaching who have been coached by you. And that's our process. It's not that time consuming. It's setting a standard. Everybody has to go through that. And then in upcoming years, our goals are to create different levels within the coaching association because as we all know, no two coaches are the same, and some have more experience than others, and we're aware of that. But at the end of the day, we needed to start somewhere, and this is where we started.


[00:05:11.350] - Lindsey

And we do believe that this is a great start to the organization. And today we're actually at 420 active certified coaches across the country.


[00:05:19.260] - Dale

Oh, wow. I didn't realize you're up to that many. And that was one thing I was going to say next is that's kind of the other facet of USMCA's. I think there's another site that you go to. [email protected] where you send people that are looking for a coach, not necessarily someone that's looking to become certified as a coach. And so there's like two facets of it there. You're able to kind of give someone a central repository to look for a certified coach and then a place to actually get certified as a coach.


[00:05:43.950] - Lindsey

You said it perfectly. So what we tell people in a nutshell is we certify and connect. We certify coaches across the country. We connect riders with certified coaches across the country and we do that via motorcyclecoaching.org. That's our one stop place for people to go on and connect with coaches. We recently launched a mobile app so you can download Motorcycle Coaching by USMCA on Google Play and iOS. You can type in your zip code. You can type in the coach's name if you know it we're working on. So you can just even put your city state and you can just look at the coaches that are available in your area. Or if you're just looking for a dirt by coach or just looking for a sport by coach, what's on there is instant messaging capabilities. So you can actually start messaging the coach instantly. And even if you can't book a session right now. I've had a lot of inquiries lately of people that are just they want to get started, but they don't know what to do. And you know, I had one that was a younger, younger person looking to get involved in the sport and they didn't know what size of bike to do and they were golly, they were like 6ft tall and they were looking at a 65.


[00:06:51.600] - Lindsey

But nobody knows this when you're getting involved in the sport. They don't understand. And it's really cool because seeing the conversations back and forth of our coaches coaching, it's sort of like picking up a mentor before you go into the dealership. You really don't know what you need until you talk to somebody that's been involved. And that's a huge deal for us as we want to make sure that we're connecting riders with the best coaches to not only coach, but to mentor people through this process to decrease the intimidation factor of our industry.


[00:07:24.810] - Dale

I brought this up numerous times on the show talking to we've had a couple of guests on there actually our USMCA certified, like Roy Sullivan for example.


[00:07:33.160] - Lindsey

Yeah.


[00:07:33.670] - Dale

And we talk about it quite a bit. Like being an actual coach, like teaching instructing somebody is not always the easiest thing for some people. Just because they can ride a motorcycle fast doesn't necessarily mean that's going to translate to being a good coach. Is that something that you've kind of seen or experienced?


[00:07:50.470] - Lindsey

I have seen that coaching is a very delicate process and no two coaches are the same and with different riders too, it's not a one coach is good for all. You know, everybody has a different learning style, everybody has a different coaching style and it's important that you recognize that and you don't get discouraged after your first encounter with a coach. And maybe it doesn't go the way you want. That's why there's multiple coaches in the area because everybody connects differently with other people. And I do a lot of the reference calls and during these calls it's funny because they don't name drop, but they will talk about having experiences with other coaches and it just doesn't work out. But I love the fact that they kept going and they didn't stop their journey and they got connected with the person that fits them best.


[00:08:37.270] - Dale

That's such a great point because like you said, everybody learns differently. Some people might respond to kind of a little bit more pressure or whatever, whereas someone else might shut down. They're just not a naturally talkative person and so they need someone that can deal with that. And so it's really cool to know that maybe the first coach you try might not be the right fit, but then there's other options out there.


[00:08:59.670] - Lindsey

Exactly. And that's the coolest thing about our organization is we have a lot of coaches in different areas and a lot of coaches in the same areas. So it makes it easier for people to get connected to multiple coaches.


[00:09:11.770] - Dale

So for our listeners out there, it's not just like because initially I thought it was just dirt bike but I don't realize you actually have sport bike coaches as well. Yeah, let's talk a little bit about that. It's obviously two different worlds completely being on a racetrack and then being on the street. Completely different elements. I know that personally, firsthand, I haven't ridden much on the street and when I do, I feel a lot more nervous on the street than I do being on dirt that I grew up on.


[00:09:35.980] - Lindsey

And that's what a lot of people that come to our website are asking of the coaches, is they ride on the road and they just want to get more comfortable. They don't want to be as intimidated when they're on the highways and riding and they just want to become stronger riders. So our coaches, our sport by coaches primarily coach only in closed course facilities or in a closed parking lot course where they're just doing those type of drills. We don't promote any type of on road coaching. However, those skill sets that they learn during those sessions really plays a huge benefit when they go back on the road. So we do focus on closed course. A lot of our coaches are involved with different tract organizations and like two of our biggest organizations would be the Yamaha Champ School and then the California Superbike School. I know specifically with the California Superbike School, every single one of their coaches is USMCA certified.


[00:10:29.910] - Dale

I think we had some of the CEO of Road America road race circuit on and I think they have some education there. And I don't know if they're part of the USMCA or not, but I know they do something similar where you can go there and you learn on their road circuit. So you're not actually on the streets, which I thought was a pretty neat facet too.


[00:10:48.160] - Lindsey

No, that's incredible. And Moto America has been a huge supporter of the USMCA. They help us with free advertising and they help us promote any way that they can. So we try to make it out to a couple of events a year to show our support and to be there for our coaches and supporters there. So they've been a huge partner with us.


[00:11:07.030] - Dale

You mentioned earlier, I think you said there's 400 plus certified coaches now. Yes, I think I saw where KTM Group might be involved, but are there any other OEMs that have kind of stepped up and really embraced this whole program as well?


[00:11:20.550] - Lindsey

Yeah, so the KTM Group has been supporters since the beginning in 2016. Since then, we've had Yamaha Hop on board and we've had Honda Hop on board, and they've been supporters for the last two years. And, you know, their support has been awesome. We've done some great things with them, some great events, and really appreciative of their support. Besides them, we have mountain motor sports. So they're a large dealer group in the Southeast. So they've been a huge supporter of us for the last two years and really looking forward to increasing different things that we do with them. Specifically in Georgia, we want to have more of a presence there. And then we have fox racing motorsport.com in the Pacific Northwest. And then we have NPA National Public Auctions. And we have Rhino Power. So we do have a lot of supporters that back us up. And it's been awesome to see the growth in the last few years specifically.


[00:12:14.170] - Dale

We'll get back to the conversation in one moment, but first, here's a word from our sponsor. I know this might seem like an odd question, but in your personal opinion, why do you think this is so important to kind of catch these new riders and teach them these skills from the start? I mean, I kind of have an answer in my mind, like I think of especially on the street, you know, like someone can go in and buy one of these 100 HP plus street bikes. I guess the same could be said for 60 HP dirt bike too. And so I think I kind of have an idea what the answer is. But I'm just curious to know what your thoughts are and why you think this is so critical to catch these people new to the sports and teach them the proper skills.


[00:12:52.030] - Lindsey

The most important thing for us, we want to catch them in the beginning of the sport specifically, so they can learn the best habits right away and they can become those lifelong motorcycles that our goal is to have. Our goal is to help grow the sport and to help grow the sport safely. And we do believe that you can do that through good quality coaching and getting connected with a coach right away in the beginning, so you don't learn those bad habits. Hopefully you don't get one of those career ending injuries that don't allow you to be involved with the motorcycling community for the rest of your life. That's our ultimate goal is to have those lifelong motorcyclists who maybe they start out on APW 50 and then they advance into on road riding once they get their license. That's our ultimate goal.


[00:13:37.140] - Dale

That's true, because I feel like for those just starting out, say, on a street bike, if you don't learn those skills and precautions, like just those tips, there's a higher chance of maybe going down. And that being either, hey, one and done, that scares them and they don't want to ride anymore, or it's just one of those situations where I feel like if, you know going in, if you had some tools in the toolbox, that it might help them become more of a long lasting lifetime rider.


[00:14:04.500] - Lindsey

Yes. And that's exactly what we're looking for. We want to have those lifelong riders, and we hope that that keeps the sport of motorcycling around for years to come. And the ultimate goal would be to decrease the amount of accidents that happen. And it's actually crazy because one of the things that we can track on our app now is different stats. And, you know, it's actually very surprising, the different skill levels that come through. Looking for coaches. We were pretty surprised. So about 50% are beginner, first time riders looking to get involved with a coach, but then the next about I can't remember the percentage off the top of my head, but it's like a high number. Like, 35% to 40% claim themselves to be intermediate, and then the rest of them claim to be, like, a pro advanced rider oh, wow. Looking to get that next level of training, which is so awesome because they recognize the fact that they need coaching to get to that next level. And that was the most surprising thing for us, and especially with the board members on the USMCA. Is, you know, wow, like, these aren't just beginners, but these are people actually looking to advance in their careers and get to that next step.


[00:15:09.940] - Lindsey

And that's one of our goals for next year, is to really promote that there's a coach for everyone of any type of writing, but, like, any type of skill level or age, you can always get coaching. But don't you feel like that in our lives right now, too? Like, you can always learn something?


[00:15:25.450] - Dale

Absolutely.


[00:15:26.010] - Lindsey

And that's kind of our goal and what we want to teach people next year.


[00:15:29.710] - Dale

Yeah, you kind of made me think about it differently because I'm, like, I was a motocross racer, so I automatically think, oh, I'm getting on a street bike. I know how to ride. But there's so much that I don't know. Like, even just the hand signals to each other when you're on the bike, it's all that stuff to where I feel like I need to go take a street riding course.


[00:15:47.370] - Lindsey

Yeah, I did that recently. Last spring, I went to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, and I did a basic rider course, like, just a parking lot paddock drill and it was crazy, the stuff that I didn't know. And I had the moto elbows. Like, my elbows were up and that's such a no no when you're riding up the road, but I didn't know that. And I'm telling you, like, I'm a lifelong racer, it's just different habits and it's important to recognize that and to be aware of it and to receive that good quality coaching.


[00:16:18.900] - Dale

So let's talk a little bit about it because you kind of brought up being elbows up, you're a motocrosser yourself and I want to talk a little bit about your background and career highlights. And you've had quite a career with the Feld group, right? So I think you did between Arenacross and Supercross, you did, I think, about ten years with that group. Tell me a little bit about that.


[00:16:38.640] - Lindsey

Yes, I did. So I've been so fortunate in my career. I went professional in 2006 and I raced pretty actively up until about 2012. But I started my career with Feld in 2009 when I became a Serena Cross and I stuck with Feld for the majority of my start to my career. And it was an amazing time. I was with Arena Cross until 2015, and in between Arenacross and Supercross, I actually went to Monster Jam for a season and I helped activate a Learn to Ride Activation, which by far was the highlight of my fellow career. It was actually in 2018, but we taught people how to ride dirt bikes and ATVs at Monster Dam events and it was just insane. We did everything. Like, we suited them up in full gear, taught them how to ride, they were able to ride and we had different types of Learnt to Ride Activations available too. But to see the joy on those kids faces that were riding a motorcycle for the first time was 100% priceless. And I will take that as a highlight of my career all day. That was definitely the coolest thing I've ever done.


[00:17:54.300] - Dale

Plus, you're creating new riders. I would imagine some of them went home and probably purchased some new dirt bikes.


[00:18:01.450] - Lindsey

It was really cool. So we did that in 2018 and then from there I went to Supercross and I was the product manager there. And again, it was awesome. I loved what I did. I felt like I was definitely where I was supposed to be in that moment. And then Cobbt hit and then it was crazy. It's crazy how life works, because I didn't really know what my next step was, but I knew that I wanted to take a slight step back and not travel as frequently. And Kristie Lacurl reached out to me in fall of 2020 and just asked me if I'd be open for a phone call and wanting to talk more about the USMCA. And, man, it's just it's crazy how doors open when you least expect it, because this has been such an amazing opportunity. And it brings me back to my experience at Ride at Monster Jam because I feel like this is my purpose in the industry is now I get to connect riders with certified coaches and I get to create those type of memories and work with getting more coaches certified and getting people more educated about it.


[00:19:03.090] - Lindsey

Like doing something like this. This is what I'm passionate about is giving back to the sport and raising more awareness about the coaching association and getting more people involved.


[00:19:13.290] - Dale

So what? Between the arenacross and Supercross? I think Supercross what you're doing like the fan fest, was it some type of same thing where you're just kind of introducing people to motorcycling?


[00:19:23.950] - Lindsey

That was more of the operations side of things. So I more set up and tore down the event, parked all the vehicles, laid out the parking lots for like all the activations that went out. Monster Jam, I was involved in the pit party, but it was just for the Ride activation. So I didn't have anything to do with really learning how to ride in that area. No, it was more operational for Super Cross.


[00:19:48.600] - Dale

So between Arena Cross and Supercross, I don't know what your take is on this, but I always thought I loved the family vibe at the Arena Cross series. I remember doing quite a bit. I grew up in the Midwest too, so having done quite a few of those, I just feel like it's such a good little family. Everybody is just friends with everybody and just a good group of people.


[00:20:05.760] - Lindsey

That was. The coolest thing is we all hang out in the hotels, like in the hotel lobby after the events, and everybody got along. From the riders and the mechanics to the drivers to the people setting up and tearing down the events, we all got along. And it was definitely an incredible experience and one that I'll take for the rest of my life. It's something that I'll always remember. But yeah, you're absolutely right. The vibe is like no other at Arena Cross.


[00:20:31.390] - Dale

Yeah, definitely down to earth and family driven for sure.


[00:20:34.510] - Lindsey

Yes.


[00:20:35.960] - Dale

When you were racing, it looks like you had aspirations to be try and make it. That was when the WMA was really going pretty strong there back in the early two thousand s and I think I saw where you got an 11th place at the Glen Hill and national and then you got 8th at Loretta Lynn's one year and so you were kind of on your way, weren't you?


[00:20:52.230] - Lindsey

You know, it was fun. It was an amazing experience. And there was select females that were making it, and they were able to support themselves, but it's just a tough position to be in. And I was very thankful for my parents support. But at the end of the day, there was no way that I could have sustained and I realized that, and I was able to still ride for fun for a few years after that. But I'm thankful that for the experiences that I had because it definitely shaped me into where I am today.


[00:21:25.380] - Dale

Yeah, for sure. Well, one more question here before we start wrapping. I noticed that the USMCA is partnered with the Kirkacelli Foundation here coming up in December yes. For a free beginner dirtbike skills class and tell our listeners about that. How cool is that? Come out to Fox Raceway and get some free lessons.


[00:21:45.870] - Lindsey

So we are really excited that we were asked back. This will be our second year going to the ride day, and this year we're going to be doing two different sessions. So it's two two hour sessions of Learn to Ride. So this is where you bought a bike and you really don't know what's next. You don't really have much experience. You're a little intimidated to go out there. The track is really scary for you right now and that's where we come in. So you sign up for the beginner skills class and it's a two hour course on learning the basic functionalities, how to start, stop, turn, proper shifting, utilizing your clutch. And it'll be basic skills to make people more confident riders to where they can graduate to the kids track by the end, or that mini track in the back. And that's our goal, is just to create more confidence in the riders so that they don't feel so intimidated in going out on the track for the first time. So our morning session is already booked up, so we do still have a few spots available for the afternoon session, which will be one to three.


[00:22:46.480] - Lindsey

That'll be next Saturday already. That's crazy. Yeah. December 3.


[00:22:51.270] - Dale

I know. Cats going by so fast, isn't it?


[00:22:53.610] - Lindsey

Yeah.


[00:22:54.560] - Dale

Not sure where the year's been so well for our listers out there. Really appreciate your time today. But for our listeners out there, where can someone go? Where exactly should they go if they want to learn more about becoming a USMC certified instructor or if they want to find an instructor in their area?


[00:23:11.700] - Lindsey

Yeah. So for coaches that are looking to get certified and take that next step in legitimizing their coaching career, go to usmca.org. And we have the certification portal right there. It's a one stop shop. Everything's on there. It's 100% online, so you can pick it up and whenever you have an extra minute to get some stuff done. And then if you're a rider looking to get connected with a coach in your area, download the Motorcycle Coaching App in your App Store. It's a completely free tool to use. Obviously, the trainings are not every coach has a different pricing point, but connecting with a coach is free messaging a coach, getting more information, so that's downloading the Motorcycle Coaching App by USMCA in your App Store.


[00:23:56.380] - Dale

Awesome. Well, we really appreciate you coming on today and it's just such a great thing what you and the rest of the staff at USMCA are doing to help better sport motorcycling, and we really appreciate your time today. Thanks so much.


[00:24:11.710] - Lindsey

Thank you so much. I appreciate your time as well, and I look forward to talking to you guys again.


[00:24:28.910] - Dave

If you enjoyed this episode, make sure to follow Pit Pass Moto on your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode. If you have a moment, please rate and review our show. We'd really appreciate it. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and visit pitpassmoto.com, where you can check out our blog, listen to past episodes, and purchase your own Pit Pass Moto swag.


[00:24:51.060] - Dale

This has been a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thank you to Tommy Boy Halverson and the production team at Wessler Media. I'm Dale Spangler.


[00:25:00.640] - Dave

And I'm Dave Sulecki. See you next week on Pit Pass Moto.

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The Team

Dave Sulecki

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Dave Sulecki is a 37 year industry veteran, and a lifetime motorcycle rider, racer, builder, restorer, and enthusiast.

Dale Spangler

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Dale Spangler is a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast, former racer, and powersports industry marketing specialist, writer, and content creator.

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