Add Your Heading Text Here

Bicycle Riding, Safety, and Mechanic Skills for Youth Cyclists

Cycle Academy Education Overview

Cycling is one of the few activities that bridges exercise and transportation, and for someone under 16 years old, the only quick way to get somewhere independently other than a bus or other public transportation. Bicycles enable students to explore their communities, visit their friends, parks, pools, or the soccer field without needing an adult to help them.

Cycle Academy is a structured educational program geared toward youth cyclists concentrating on bicycle riding, safety, and maintenance skills. It focuses on hands-on learning, self-sufficiency, developing a healthy lifestyle by integrating bicycling into daily activities, and community service. The goal of the program is to develop well-rounded lifestyle and recreational cyclists.

The Cycle Academy Bicycle Merit Badge Curriculum

Youth advance through the program by earning merit badges. Each badge corresponds to a single skill learned or task completed that relates to cycling. A unique aspect of the program is a dependency map or skills tree – a common feature in modern strategy games – linking badges together. Once students complete lower-level badge, they progress to higher-level badges and more sophisticated skills.

All badges encourage learning by doing, directly engaging the cyclist through hands-on application of instruction. Students are expected to display proficiency rather than perfection and can work alone, in pairs, or in a group to practice skills and/or to assist each other. When an instructor determines that a student has sufficiently demonstrated the skill based on the program guidelines, the instructor awards the badge for the achievement. This model develops goal-setting and long-term planning by providing a reward and recognition framework that engenders personal incentives and group-based competition. 

The system is flexible enough to handle cyclists progressing at different rates and/or having specific interests. As long as students have completed the dependent badges, they can focus on getting any badge at their current working level and the following level to allow them the choice to focus on the skills which interest them the most. 

The Instructors

The instructor’s role is that of a mentor and material expert who should be sufficiently proficient with the associated skills to lead, demonstrate, and assist the cyclists with the specific badge being covered. L1 and L2 badges are intended to be basic enough for the average parent/guardian without cycling experience to guide their child through those levels of the program without the necessity of special tools or skills.

Key Features

  • Easily replicable or integrated into existing programs by third parties
  • Can be applied to provide instruction to a group or utilized by a parent/guardian
  • Involves mechanical, riding, safety, education, and community service components
  • Badges in each level are geared toward the age group’s typical physical development, skill levels, and non-cycling related activities
  • Badge levels map closely to the traditional public school grade level groupings (Level 1: K-5th, Level 2: 6th-8th, Level 3: 9th-12th, Level 4: Advanced Modules/Master Cyclist)
  • A reward and recognition framework that is simple enough for younger cyclists to understand but also complex enough to be challenging and engaging for older riders