High School Cycling
Why play traditional high school sports when you can ride your bike? The thought of cycling clubs and teams in high school is growing. Cycling is a lifestyle choice that can be used throughout your life long after you graduate. Don’t wait until you are a middle-aged workaholic to realize how important riding a bike was to you and your well being.
The primary demographic age for licensed riders with USA Cycling is 35-44. These are the people who have gone to school, got a job, worked their butt off while ignoring their health to the point that their doctors tell them they need to start exercising more and eating right. They then choose things like running and cycling. So why wait until you are 40? Start your cycling habits now and carry them through college and into adulthood so you don’t have to make that decision later in life. Some colleges, such as Lindsay Wilson College and Marian University, have very successful cycling teams and even offer degrees in cycling.
Here in the Midwest, we have a couple of solid juniors cycling clubs that cater to the younger 10-14 year olds with the Red Zone Cycling Team and QCW Lionhearts, but very little in the means of High School clubs and teams. We want to change that. We want to see more high schools offer cycling teams and clubs for their students to participate in and maintain healthy lifestyles through exercise and nutrition.
If you would like your school to start a cycling program, find a staff or administrator to back it and give them this brochure:
This will help guide you through setting up your cycling club and building a future of success.
Bike Racing Disciplines
Bike racing is not just confined to one discipline. There are actually several different types of bike racing, many of which require specific bikes or bike set-ups. Here are the most popular forms of bike racing:
- Road Races are based on distance and are held on open roads. These are the types of races that you see in major events like the Tour de France. These races are typically held in the Spring and early Summer.
- Time Trials are a specific discipline in which riders race by themselves against the clock. This is often referred to as the “Race of Truth”. You will be able to find time trials all year long with the exception of the colder Winter months.
- Criteriums are short but fast races held on closed streets in which the riders will race multiple laps for a specific length of time. The courses are very short allowing for great viewing by spectators. These are typically found in the Summer and as part of a neighborhood block party.
Mountain Bike (MTB) races are held in the woods. There aren’t always mountains involved, and it isn’t always all downhill like you see on TV. Though there are many different forms of MTB races, the most popular, especially in the Midwest, is Cross Country (XC) races which is a mass start race on a specific trail loop. Riders may do one or multiple laps depending on their experience level. The best seasons for MTB-ing are Winter (frozen trails) and Summer (dry trails).
Track racing is held in a Velodrome with bikes that have no gears and no brakes. The drive train on the bikes are called “Fixed Gear” in which the rear wheel only moves if the pedals are moving, i.e. no coasting. The closest velodrome to our area is the Major Taylor Velodrome in Indianapolis. Since the Major Taylor Velodrome is an open air facility (no roof), it is mostly used in the summer months.
Cyclocross (CX) is the fastest growing form of bike racing in the country right now. It is a combination of road racing and mountain biking with the majority of the racing held on a grass surface. The course will have various obstacles that may require the rider to dismount and carry their bicycle. The bikes used for these races look like normal road bikes but with knobby tires. The racing format is similar to criteriums in that riders are racing for a specific amount of time doing multiple laps of a short course. These events are great spectator events and have developed into entertainment spectacles on and off the courses. The traditional CX season is from September until February.
BMX racing is short, fast and exciting with small jumps and banked turns. A typical race will only last less than 2 minutes, but most events are done in heats require riders to finish well in each heat to move on to the next round. Most big events are done through the ABA-BMX instead of USA Cycling. When asked why USA Cycling doesn’t do more in the BMX realm, they commended the ABA on the excellent work they were doing for the sport and saw no reason to interfere. USA Cycling does work more on the International racing side of BMX racing.
OTHER CYCLING COMPETITIONS
In addition to all of the traditional bike racing disciplines, there are also a couple of bicycle team events.
- Bike Polo has becoming a very popular underground sport in which teams of riders use mallets to hit the ball and try to score into the other teams goal.
- Cycle-Ball is a game of two on two in which the riders must hit the ball into the goal of the other team. If a rider puts a foot down during play, he/she is penalized.