Competitive cycling has seen dramatic growth in the U.S. in recent years, with individual teams sprouting up all across the country, and larger, fully-fledged leagues and race series coming together in several states and regions, as well. Many interscholastic clubs and organizations have utilized USA Cycling’s existing network of experienced coaches, clubs, race organizers, and local associations to form these organizations, but we are also constantly working to tailor our resources to this emerging segment of USA Cycling members.
Below we’ve outlined a few of the basics of interscholastic cycling, with more resources and information on the way in the future.
Always feel free to contact USA Cycling with questions, concerns or suggestions for the national structure of interscholastic cycling in the future. Interscholastic Cycling and Club Development Coordinator, Emily Palmer, is available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 719-434-4202.
- Starting a Club
- Registering with USA Cycling
- Becoming a Coach
- Insurance Information
- Finding an Existing Club
Forming an interscholastic cycling club is easier than you probably think. Here is a basic outline of a few key steps along the way to starting a successful interscholastic cycling club. (This information is aimed at adults looking to form a club, as any student club will almost certainly need an adult sponsor along the way. If you’re a student interested in forming a club, your first step should be to team up with an adult cyclist in the community or find a staff member at your school with a passion for cycling.)
1. Get Permission
Talk with school administration / get approval to recruit
Before doing anything, it’s always a good idea to talk to the school administration first. This is not to gain permission to form a club so much as to simply do a litmus test, gauging interest among students. If you already have a small group of interested students you may be able to skip this step however it is also a good way to initiate the conversation of interscholastic cycling with the school. It is also a good time to ask what it takes to form a new club at that school.
2. Gather Support
Find interested students
Forming an interscholastic club is always easier if there is interest among existing students. Chances are good that whether anyone knows it or not, there are at least one or two students interested in some form of cycling, whether it’s Road, Mountain, Cyclocross, Track, BMX, or casual rides with their friends or family. Remember, cycling is not yet the coolest thing in schools (but it will be), so many students do not make their interest in cycling obvious; find those students and make cycling something they can be proud of. Additionally, schools tend to be student-focused (for good reason) and are therefore most responsive to student interest, so if a group of students want a cycling club, the school will be more apt to listen.
Find interested and supportive parents
Just having interested students isn’t enough, though. Parents with a vested interest in their child’s participation in the club are essential to the short- and long-term success of the club. On an even more basic level than volunteer roles to help structure the club, supportive parents are necessary for the logistics of signing their child’s waivers, getting them to practices and races, and financially backing their child’s new hobby, especially with the cost of equipment.
Find interested adults in the community
Local cyclists willing to lend their experience and sport specific knowledge, as well as hand-me-down equipment are a great asset to any team. In the ideal case you have a group of interested students and some parents and adult volunteers willing to help with the structure and organization. It is helpful when the interested parents and students have the additional help and resources that can be provided by these other adults in the community with cycling experience.
Find an interested staff or faculty member
Most schools require a school employee to serve as an official club sponsor for any club or activity to be officially sanctioned by the school. It is even possible, in some cases, for schools to allow this person to be a moderator in name only while parents, students, and other qualified adults actually run the club or at least do the ‘heavy lifting’ of running a club.
3. Make it Official
Secure official recognition and approval from the school
Each school and district will have a slightly different process for securing official recognition as a new school club but many, if not most, of the requirements are quite similar. Typically, there is a standard form that needs to be filled out and this form requires things like the name and signature of the faculty sponsor, the official name of the club, the purpose or mission statement of the club, information on the club officer positions and sometimes the names of the student leaders, basic information about the club structure and activities such as what type of meetings will be held, when, how often, etc. and finally, most schools require a list of names and signatures from a minimum number of students interested in creating the new club.
One important thing to keep in mind is that at the start, the only interest the administration needs to show is openness to the idea of a new cycling cub. Student interest coupled with the sound structure and support you will give the club assisted by the support structure provided by USA Cycling should do the rest.
Registering the club with USA Cycling is a key part of the process for many reasons. Being an official member club with USA Cycling can add legitimacy to the club in the eyes of students, parents, and administration. Membership with the National Governing Body of cycling can help assuage many of the concerns the administration may have about approving a school-sponsored cycling club. Membership also makes certain member benefits available to the club and its members such as discounts on cycling and insurance products through USA Cycling’s Affinity Partners. Read more about the benefits of USA Cycling membership here.
Membership with USA Cycling provides access to an existing nation-wide support structure including licensed coaches, Local Associations, and USA Cycling staff support. Membership also allows the club to host sanctioned races, official club practices, camps, and non-competitive events. Permitting these events with USA Cycling provides liability protection, rules structure and access to a network of licensed officials. A USAC permit also enables your club members to be part of USA Cycling’s results and rankings system and feed into the National Development Program. Additionally, membership with USA Cycling allows for the club to purchase general liability insurance.
Membership is free for all new interscholastic clubs and after that it is only $50 per year. You can register your club by filling out the following two forms and emailing, mailing, or faxing them to USA Cycling via the contact information found on the forms themselves:
In addition to registering with USA Cycling, your school may ask that you have a licensed USA Cycling coach as a team advisor, or that you secure additional liability insurance for the club. Details on both of these processes are outlined below.
USA Cycling offers a certification and licensing program for cycling coaches, with a discount for new coaches from interscholastic programs. This program certifies that the coach is versed not only in the basics of coaching cyclists, but is up to date on continuing education units and the latest information available to coaches. Additionally, every licensed USA Cycling coach has passed a criminal background check, which provides schools with added peace of mind. Complete details on this program are available here, but the basic steps to becoming a coach are summarized here:
- Continuing Education: Review the continuing education policy. You are responsible for knowing and keeping up to date on the continuing education policy.
- Coaching Manual: Order a copy of Introduction to Coaching Cyclists using this form, which gives interscholastic cycling coaches a $15 discount (normally $35 through your MY USA Cycling account). The book is the text for the current level 3 certification exam.
- Online Exam: Take the online exam. The level 3 is a home study, self-paced course. The test is a self-paced. You will need a MYUSACYCLING account in order to take the exam online.
- Background Check: Review the criminal background check procedures and complete the process.
- Application: Complete and send the coaching license application, signed the Acknowledgement of Risk and Media waivers, and payment information. Send the original forms to USA Cycling (address is on the form as is the payment information). This step is critical and crucial. USA Cycling does not check for the test or the criminal background check until you send in the coaching license application and fee.
Coaches can also purchase additional professional liability insurance at a discounted rate.
USA Cycling, Inc. has general liability and rider accident insurance that covers events for which a permit has been issued. This insurance covers Road, Track, Mountain Biking, and Cyclo-cross events. Complete information on this and other insurance programs are available here.
In addition, all interscholastic clubs are eligible to purchase additional club general liability insurance. This additional insurance provides coverage with a liability limit of $1 million for clubs during cycling-related club activities, such as awards banquets, meetings, approved fund-raisers, and club training rides that are not sanctioned by USA Cycling. Complete information on this program is available here.
*This information only summarizes the policies below and is just an overview. Coverage is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy(ies). Should a discrepancy occur between this synopsis of coverage and the actual terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy(ies), the policy(ies) terms, conditions and exclusion will prevail.
To find an interscholastic team, you can check the USA Cycling database of clubs here. Keep in mind that some interscholastic clubs are actually leagues with individual clubs registered within those leagues. To find those teams, click on “details” next to the league name.
A few other leagues and series worth checking out:
- Michigan Scholastic Cycling Association
- Ohio Interscholastic Racing League
- Texas High School Cycling League
- Virginia High School MTB Series
- Connecticut High School Cycling League
Photos 1 and 4: Robert Lowe (Sierra Nevada High School Race Series)
Photos 2 and 3: Kevin McDade (Texas High School Cycling League)
This Article Published July 19, 2011 For more information contact: