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USA Cycling Focuses on Junior and Collegiate Development in 2020 and Beyond

By: Bouker Pool  January 31, 2020

USA Cycling becomes a founding member of the Youth Cycling Initiative, offers free and discounted memberships to youth leagues and clubs, and creates a new department within USA Cycling focusing on Youth and Collegiate Development.

USA Cycling announced plans today regarding the continued expansion of the organization’s Youth and Collegiate Development program. Over the past year, the organization has focused intently on creating more access points for youth to connect with and become involved in the sport of cycling, and these initiatives and programs were formed with that in mind.

“As we look towards the future of this sport and organization, it’s imperative that the development of youth and collegiate cycling be at the forefront of our priorities,” said Rob DeMartini, President and CEO of USA Cycling. “In October 2019 we established a new department within our organization that is dedicated exclusively to the growth of cycling among youth. Working to get more kids riding bikes, fostering a life-long love of the sport is not just a priority, it’s our responsibility.”

USA Cycling’s new Junior Development initiative includes programs to lower the barriers of entry for youth interested in racing their bikes. These programs include:

  • Free annual club dues for junior-focused clubs.
  • Free memberships which include a race license to riders enrolled in select junior programs, as well as need-based free memberships for juniors via an application.
  • Creation of the American Development Model (ADM) educational platform for cycling, a tool already successfully in use by other National Governing bodies. ADM programming is a proven tool used to support long-term development in sport. This program will include training kits, online courses as well as additional resources for parents, athletes, club leadership and youth program administrators. It will also integrate with USA Cycling’s coaching education department.
  • USA Cycling Foundation will expand its 15-year-old Centers of Excellence Program to financially assist teams and clubs which excelled in the grassroots development of young cyclists. The Centers of Excellence Program has awarded over $500,000 in grants to junior development programs since its inception in 2005.

“We're thrilled USA Cycling is tackling this issue,” said Jed Kombluh, Executive Director of CT Cycling Advancement Program. “Breaking down the cost barrier of an annual license for young riders is a great start to providing more sustainable access to our sport. If cycling, competitive or recreational, is going to grow, we have to look beyond our traditional rider, one who likely comes from a ‘cycling family,’ and market to those used to ball sports and other traditional sport leagues, which have simple one-time fee structures agreeable to many family budgets. I look forward to rolling this out to our teams and add more new cyclists to USAC ranks in 2020."

Moving forward, the revitalization of cycling in the U.S. and continued growth of junior cycling will remain a top priority for the organization. So far, USA Cycling has worked to establish partnerships with several junior focused cycling associations. These partnerships include the Michigan Scholastic Cycling Association (MiSCA), the Iowa Scholastic Mountain Bike Club, the Connecticut Cycling Advancement Program, the New England High School Cycling League Association, the Youth Cycling Association, and the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association. USA Cycling is offering free memberships/race licenses to all athletes enrolled in these programs and will be recognizing results from their junior events for purposes assigning ranking points.

“Recognizing the results from our High School events could be a game-changer for kids in our state since there aren't many USAC mountain bike races,” said Sean Warren President and Executive Director of MiSCA. “I know some of our kids had issues getting recognized for scholarship and collegiate opportunities since they had no USAC status.”

For questions regarding the USA Cycling Youth and Collegiate Development program or recognition of high school league event results, please contact Liz Kollar, Director of Youth and Collegiate Development at lkollar@usacycling.org.