Shift up podcast: Lessons from NICA on growing children’s cycling

Having been handed a $1 million jumpstart by Trek back in August, the National Interscholastic Cycling Association features on today’s Shift Up Podcast, discussing how that funding will help grow children’s cycling across the USA.

Our guest is Austin McInerny, NICA’s executive director, who begins by outlining the community goals of the organisation

“Whether kids go on to race is not what we care about, it’s more about if they find bicycling. Part of the reason why our programme grows is that we give kids the opportunity to be part of a team during really challenging years of their development. We’re using the bicycle as a tool to build community. We’re finding the bike to be an extremely effective tool because kids love to be outside having fun and exploring; the bike is the tool to do this. Our programme is about building community and 99% of students report after their first year of participation that they consider themselves lifelong cyclists – and they’ll encourage their friends and family.”

Thus far, NICA has created 22 state-based regional leagues, with three additional leagues currently in training ahead of a 2019-2020 programme. Spanning the entire country, it is estimated that 69% of the residents have access at present and that is growing at a rate of 30% annually.

The net result of these investments is a reach to 15,000 student-athletes thanks to 6,400 licensed coaches and a network of volunteers. 800 schools participate at present.

To find out more about how NICA is growing cycling culture from the youth upwards tune in below. For previous podcasts, check out our archive here.