Starting a HS Cycling Club/Team?

In light of today’s thread on the “death” of road racing, a few replies got me thinking about how I can help start a cycling club for youth (potentially affiliated with the school system). All of the minor pre-requisites aside (I’m a USAC certified cycling coach, have background checks and child safety clearances, safesport, all that jazz), has anyone here started such a club/team and how did you go about doing it? What were the obstacles?

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We have a local group (as part of a larger push in my state) working on getting the NICA MTB program going in most of the major cities.

The site has lots of resources to review.

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Following this. My local high school—which my children will attend someday—doesn’t currently have a sanctioned MTB team, despite numerous surrounding schools having them. I’m also interested in learning how one would go about starting a high school level cycling team.

Post where you are located as this can help us help you. Indiana is building their organization right now (season 2 starts in the fall).

Pennsylvania Interscholastic Cycling League

I’d start there, taking a guess that you’re in PA.

We have mountain biking here in my area and I’m impressed with everything they’re doing and I wish I’d been able to have that type of coaching when I was a kid. I cross paths with them training periodically and work with one of the parents who helps out a lot and it is a great program.

Kudos for the thought/inspiration. However, starting a cycling club/team can be an enormous undertaking. Note: I have been on the board of directors of our cycling/racing club and continue to be involved in club operations. While being a USAC coach is admirable and useful from many standpoints, setting up and operating a club can be huge additional legal, financial and administrative undertaking.

So my first suggestion is to be very clear about your objectives. What SPECIFICALLY are you trying to accomplish? Is it to address the decline in USAC racing? Or it is to get high school kids into biking itself, safe biking, or into racing in particular? These are very different objectives requiring very different plans of attack.

If it is address USAC racing issues, this topic already has massive attention. Here in Northern California, for example, it is a well discussed topic at the club level for all clubs involved in USAC racing, and at the region level. NCNCA (Northern California Nevada Cycling Association) is very concerned about this issue and has ongoing lively discussions. If your USAC region has an FB page similar to NCNCA, you could join your region’s FB group and see what dialogue already exists and determine ways to be invovled. Or at a national level you could contact USAC itself.

On the high school topic(s), you could contact the town where you live. Perhaps you could get involved in bike days for family and youth that some towns offer. Here in Silicon Valley California, in addition to town-sponsored events, we have the Silicon Valley Bike Coaliton with all sorts of great causes related to cycling. If such an organization exists in your community, I am sure they would welcome your help.

Good luck!