Incredible movement happening with high and middle schoolers across the USA....they’re renewing and/or discovering their love of riding a bicycle! I have never been so impressed witnessing student athletes cheering for their teammates like this. I’ve never seen so many student athletes feel confident and genuinely excited about being on a bicycle. It is truly a lifelong activity they are engaging in and it is so positive. Bravo to the founders of NICA!!
As a parent and volunteer of a PICL team member, i am so thankful for the NICA league. Our son joined the team last year. I've witnessed an incredible transformation in his being. He is more focused and positive. His team has been supportive and encouraging, qualities that are enforced by the entire league. He has grown as an individual, improving both himself and being motivated to help others. The family created by the league is an invaluable asset to the youth of our country. I'm so proud to be a part of this inspirational community.
My family has been a part of NICA since 2014. Both of my kids have been team riders, and my husband a coach. The NICA community is amazing and I am so grateful that my children have had this opportunity in their lives. They've learned sportsmanship, teamwork, leadership and stewardship. At a critical young age they learned that they are part of something bigger than themselves. Big huge thank to NICA, NorCal, the riders, and all the parent volunteers who have had such a wonderful impact on our lives.
We're a family in Flagstaff, AZ, and since NICA launched it's activities through our school, it's been a great opportunity to join in a group of bike-loving friends and parents! The teenager son who would rather facebook than ride has turned into an addict for biking, both during weekday and race events. The best part for me as a parent, is that I can be involved as a Level 1 coach, and yet not impose too much on his space.. ideal for both of us! Thank you NICA for making this possible.
This organization changes families, plain and simple. It did with mine. It created a bond between my wife, son and I that remains strong to this day. Mountain biking, and NICA specifically, gave us a common reference point, a place, activity, and shared passion that the three of us will share until the end of our days. And it all started with a NICA freshman mountain bike race. Thank you NICA!
NICA has provided a safe and supportive environment for our son to find his passion and feel comfortable building skills in a new sport. The organization has always provided the tools and training needed to give youth the opportunity to thrive in ways you can not find in some typical youth sports.
NICA is changing lives for the better. I have seen teens go from antisocial couch potatoes to outgoing, fun, active kids. My own family has been richly blessed by participating as parent volunteers, coaches, and team members. Cycling is something we can all do together. We LOVE NICA!
I’ve been an athlete for nearly 50 years and this is the best combination of sport and community I’ve been involved with. Going to the races is like going to a family reunion.
NICA is an amazing organization that gets kids excited to be on bikes and puts on amazing events that are fun for all riders. Oregon's race crew is amazing. Both of my children have had great experiences as new racers.
I am thrilled to start our second season with NICA. My oldest son is learning such wonderful lessons through his involvement with our local team and coaches. He has really improved on the bike. We enjoy traveling as a family to all the events and gladly volunteer our time to make the events extra special for everyone involved.
Absolutely nothing but wonderful things to say about this organization!!
My son has been involved in NICA for 5 years now. From the beginning, I knew NICA was something special and amazing. The atmosphere is supportive and fun without being one of the "everyone gets a medal" sports. My son loves his team and has grown as a rider, racer and teammate over the years. Originally I stayed away from coaching because of the time commitment and other factors but last year I became a coach and I have zero regrets. I love riding with our team and find it super rewarding. I recently completed Level II coach training and I am so impressed with the NICA coaching program. It, like NICA's athlete program, is top notch.
Our son is going into his third season as a NICA athlete. We had always heard good things about the program, and his freshman year, it all proved to be true. The focus on creating a fun, positive environment is inspiring.
For his second year, we helped his school start their own team (they had been part of a composite in previous years) and my wife and I also became Level 2 coaches. Being directly involved and seeing the amount of work that goes into the league is amazing.
This year we will double the number of riders on our team and I've gotten my Level 3 certification.
This program is so important for giving kids an alternate sports option, since most of them are not the typical 'ball sports' kids. You can watch their self confidence grow as the season progresses. We have everything from national level athletes to first timers on our team, and they all support each other. I wish NICA was around when I was in school!
It's a supportive environment.
I'm a 1st year Level 1 Coach, so at practice I would typically be with the "C" group riders. These kids try hard and it's exciting to see their improvement week to week.
At the 2020 Swazy Redding Race, one of my riders told me of how he gave a "Good Job" to a couple of riders of a different team (our crosstown rivals) as they were riding past him.
The other team riders responded back with a pair of complements and encouraging words for our rider.
This dang near brings a tear to my eye to hear and show the positive spirit of the NICA organization.
NICA is all about Ride your Best and Encourage others no matter who is the stronger rider.
Let's all get safely to the FINISH LINE!
This post is in regards to an accident I had involving the Sope Creek Composite Mountain Biking Team. One of the coach’s from the team, Desiree, and a teenaged girl were blocking the trail at the top of a downhill section and caused me to have a bad accident. I’ve been mountain biking for 10 years and have always been conscious of trail safety, so needless to say, I was pretty pissed when it happened. Everyone knows the rule, “Don’t block the trail.”
I’ve ridden at Sope Creek many, many times and never in a million years would I have expected people to be blocking the trail where they were stopped! Desiree has more experience than I do and has ridden that trail more than I have - she’s either a complete idiot, or she did it on purpose as a prank. I don’t see how someone with her level of experience could be that stupid. I felt like I got caught in someone’s trap – like it was deliberate. Either way, Desiree should not be coaching teenagers.
I reported the accident to a Park Ranger and from what he told me, Jeff (the team leader) and Desiree lied about what happened. They told him that Desiree was with a special needs boy named Lyle and they were walking down a difficult section of trail. That is NOT true! I called Jeff and he gave me the same story. I said, “No Jeff, she was with a girl and they were standing on the trail.” He responded, “Well, Lyle looks like a girl.” That’s pretty messed up!
To add insult to injury, Desiree came up to me when I was at Blankets Creek and got in my face with some guy about the negative post I put on the team’s Facebook page. She was lying to me and arguing that the accident was my fault. She said, “You were going too fast,” and, “Your brakes didn’t work.” I told her that was B.S.! Then she tells me that she was with a special needs boy - I told her that was B.S. too! So then she says, “Well you just had a bad accident,” implying that I hit my head and my perception was skewed. I wasn’t going too fast; my brakes worked fine; and she was with a girl, not a boy! The guy made some comments that could have led to a physical confrontation. Several times, I told them they were harassing me and asked them to leave me alone or I was going to call the police. Finally I called 911, and they left.
Desiree has mental problems! For her to argue with me and lie to my face about what happened when she knows that I was there and I know what REALLY happened, that’s bizarre!!!
I called the Director of the Georgia Interscholastic Cycling League and talked to him about what happened. I told him that Desiree and Jeff should be kicked out of the GICL. He called me back a week later and basically told me to put it in the past, and blew me off.
Call an Attorney
If you are involved in an accident that is caused by a member of a cycling team, call a Personal Injury Lawyer. Most Personal Injury Lawyers do not charge for initial consultations and their fees come out of your settlement, so it doesn’t cost you anything to hire an attorney. Expect the people on the team to lie about what happened, so make sure you have a witness.
What Really Happened
Near the top of the downhill section at Sope Creek is a big jagged rock – a narrow trail goes around the right side of the rock. The backside of the rock has a steep drop off and is pretty rough – you can tell by looking at it that it’s not safe to ride over. When I rode up to that area, Desiree was standing on the left side of the trail – she saw me coming, but didn’t say or do anything to warn me. There is a tree next to the trail on the right that blocked my view of a girl who was standing where the trail goes around the rock - I did not see her until I was past the tree and it was too late to stop. To avoid hitting the girl, I had no choice but to ride over the rock.
I went over my handle bar and hit the ground really hard. My first thought was, “God, please tell me I don’t have any broken bones.” Needless to say, I was really pissed and wanted to scream at Desiree, but I held my temper. When I finally got up off the ground, I said, “You’re blocking the trail!” Desiree responded, “She’s a novice,” and the girl said, “I’m sorry.” Basically, Desiree was putting the blame on the girl, but that’s ridiculous! I’m sure the girl had no idea that she was standing in a bad place and creating a dangerous situation, but Desiree - who is supposed to be a coach, was well aware of it. Did she tell the girl to stand there? Why didn’t she warn me? Makes no sense at all!
I could have landed on my head and ended up with a serious neck or spine injury. If I had hit the girl, she would have ended up in the emergency room. Desiree is dangerous and should not be coaching!
How I Met Desiree
I met Desiree maybe 8 years ago at Chicopee Woods. We were chatting in the parking lot and she was telling me about herself… I remember her saying, “When I was young, I got kicked out of every school my parents put me in.” She told me they sent her to a school in Europe and shortly after she got there, she packed her things and left. I got the impression that she doesn’t have a high school education. She wasn’t wearing a helmet that day, so I figured she must have Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
I would see Desiree from time to time over the years, and she never wore a helmet. To me, that’s pretty stupid because a helmet protects your head, and that’s important! The first time I ever saw her with a helmet was last fall when she was with the Sope Creek Team. Most mountain biking trails have a sign somewhere that says, “Helmet Required.” She probably looked at one of those signs and thought, “Well then, I’m NOT wearing a helmet!” That’s Oppositional Defiant Disorder!
All mountain bikers know the saying, “Don’t block the trail!” What was she doing when I had my accident – Blocking the Trail! That’s Oppositional Defiant Disorder!
I am a 52-year-old mountain biker, my “ credentials are. certified better ride coach in 2009, professional trail builder, former BMX track operator, former cycling retail store owner Who has educated himself on the sociology and psychology of mountain biking, and this is what I see. Remember, this is my opinion take it as you will, but please consider my credentials before you judge my Review ratingand my comments.
The NICA Program is definitely boosting mountain biking popularity, In the 20 years I have been involved professionally I have seen it grow, but in the last five years exponentially.
A lot because of what the NICA program has done.
As a professional trail builder at a mtb venue I am involved with our first Scholastic race, and what I am seeing is this,
Coaches and students and parents complaining about trail conditions, like for instants, corners. It seems you are Creating the mindset that corners need to be mountain bike specific, if anyone who is reading this knows anything about the progression of mountain Biking, corners have always been a learned skill that could win or lose races.
And somewhere called switchbacks!
It starts with parents complaining how tight the corners are, these are not professional riders making a judgment on something they know little about, it turns into students hearing these comments and taking them is true. Then the worst thing, it turns into a coachs belief that the corner needs to be mountain bike specific, as a trail builder this is very concerning, we are creating a very insecure mountain bike community, a corner, is a corner is a corner when it comes to trail riding, if it is a slop style or a dirt jump line or a race track Etc. etc
Then a corner Has to be specific.
People now are coming up to corners with less gumption, and a whole lot of criticism.
Another thing, trail conditions.
The nica league is bringing the soccer moms and NASCAR dad’s into the community, the soccer moms are saying the trails are too dusty is there something we can do about! our trail system is decomposed granite, and dirt, the slopes are at the angle of repose,or more dirt and decompose granite do not have the fractured surface to lock together So compaction does not work, and the amount of silt in the soil relates to the amount of water it would take to soak a section of trail just to have it duff up again because of the soil type.therefore slopes And a trail of design are very important To maintain a low maintenance status.
Another problem, debris on the side of the trail, either from construction or natural circumstances, it is a common part of mountain biking all across the world! These nica coaches are Grouping parents and Rider’s alike to clean debris off of the side of the trail, if you are on aware of the dangers of pointing out the hazards that are on the side of the trail to your students then you should not be coaching, I have two words, Object fixation!
Now these kids are aware of the things I can stab them on the side of the trail, it is FOOLISH to bring young riders into a trail system and have them focus what is not on the trail, this is out of our control worldwide. There might be situations we can control as we get rid of fallen trees, it is our obligation to take care of the potential hazards of the trees we are working on beside the trail, but it is an overwhelming situation to think we have to look for this all over our trail system never mind across the world.
Your coaches are convincing students that corners have to be mountain bike specific to work, they are excepting feedback From unprofessional riders like soccer moms and NASCAR dad’s about dust conditions and your coaches are pointing out hazardous objects with no concern to object fixation!
The one coach I had the displeasure of conversing with was very abrupt To the young kids, when we grouped up, I had a simple question for everybody. Who is into cross country!?
Who is into Enduro!?
That coach. Spoke up to the students saying, we are a cross country team you better raise your hand for that. That is a narrow minded aspect of any coach, not sure how they’re getting their credentials to call themselves coaches whenever they cannot see that all aspects of cycling works with all aspects of cycling, another words a downhill racer will train on a road bike, a dirt jumper will train on an Enduro bike, it is all crossing over very well and as a coach, if you Do you not see that, again you should not be coaching, at one point that very same coach asked. Me to tell the rest of the volunteer group of kids dads and moms to hurry up and get their asses up here.!
You are changing the mountain biking mindset from a lot of gumption, to a lot of criticizing.
My son started on the high school mountain bike team last fall and I immediately saw the amazing things these leagues do and how they create strong minds & bodies through cycling. The events here in Colorado support every single rider regardless of their abilities and strive to be inclusive and welcoming. The races give me shivers they're so positive and just such a great vibe.
I was introduced to this organization via the Arizona Interscholastic Cycling League (FKA Arizona High School Cycling League). The AZ chapter of NICA leadership is incredible and professional. The mtb races are extremely well organized and the kids are all having a blast. The mission is not solely promoting mountain bike racing, it is all about building strong mind, body and spirit. All aspects of the events very focused on inclusivity.
NICA has a lasting and life changing impact on our youth. The NICA program is all inclusive and builds character and a sense of accomplishment in all the kids that participate. It's also the building blocks for an active lifestyle and for America's future Olympic and World Cup Cyclists.
NICA is an amazing organization. I have watched it's growth since it's inception and have seen it change kids lives for the better in so many ways. NICA isn't just about #gettingmorekidsonbikes , it teaches kids camaraderie, competition and gives kids another outlet to gain confidence while growing up in the challenging high school years.
I was a professional cyclist for over twenty years and NICA is by far the coolest thing I've seen and been a part of through out my career. I helped with the 2018 NICA Colorado High School State Championship in my hometown of Durango, CO and will again be helping with the promotion of the race this year. Thank you NICA for everything you do.
Excited to be a new Board Member for NICA and seeing the great things our organization does to get more kids on bikes! Was very excited to recently be involved with locally supporting a team in Fort Mill, South Carolina where they will be very excited to participate in their own league very soon!
Absolutely honored to be a current and founding board member of this organization that is positively impacting children's lives (and their families) like no other!
Serving as a member of the board of NICA has been an incredibly valuable way to contribute to the education and enrichment of the lives of young adults and kids learning to get out and adventure in a competitive and supportive environment.
This organization touches so many lives. I'm delighted to have had an opportunity to assist this organization.
NICA is getting thousands of young people onto bikes and into a lifelong activity through its wonderful high school mountain bike racing program. Organized bike racing has always been difficult for schools and young people to get involved with, but NICA has found the winning formula that is getting more and more schools competing and enjoying mountain biking. The program is designed to reward participation and teamwork while encouraging and developing athletes at the highest level. I have nothing but admiration and awe for what NICA has achieved.
This is our first season with NICA in Alabama. Everything about this organization has been top notch - great use of our funds, great race experience, great staff, great mission. Seriously - this has been the most positive youth sports experience I have ever been involved in. I am so thankful Alabama has become part of NICA and I look forward to many more years of being a part of this organization.
After my first year with NICA, I am very impressed. The ability of parents to participate and receive training is a great feature. The coaches were super and very supportive. The events were well organized. My only wish is that the season was all year long. My son and I are looking forward to restarting in the winter and improving our skills all summer long. Best sport program I have experienced.
This was our first year with NICA, as our 14 year old son has only biked casually in the past. This has been the best sporting experience we have ever had, and we can't wait for next year. Truly a great organization and nonprofit.
BikeFlights.com is thrilled to support NICA through our Buck Up For Bikes program. The money we raise every year helps get more middle and high school students riding bikes as part of school. What a positive impact NICA chapters bring to those communities!
My first experience with NICA was when the Berkeley High School team rode by my youngster and I while we were resting on our ride in Redwood Park. The student athletes were all incredibly supportive of my son. That just made his day.
I knew the coach of the Berkeley High School team at the time and got involved as an assistant coach. I could tell right away this sport was instrumental in building stronger minds and bodies of students who likely wouldn't otherwise be involved in sports. And they were enjoying the outdoors and gaining an appreciation of nature. The team helped turn around several struggling students and helped them graduate from high school.
Based on this excellent experience, I then joined the NorCal league board of directors. I worked first hand to get more kids riding bikes -- whether or not they wanted to race. Getting more kids on bikes has shown to get significantly more adults and families on bikes as well. The benefits of stronger minds and healthy bodies spreads, as does the love of nature.
Now I am back to being an assistant coach with Galena High School in the NV league. Both my middle and high school boys (young men!) ride with the team and experience considerable benefits, along with many student athletes from our community and many of their parents.
NICA is really a unique non profit. It engages students and families in healthy and beneficial activity beyond what many sports do. We could really use your help! I suggest contacting your local NICA league, or simply NICA HQ if you aren't sure where to begin.
I became involved with NICA in NC when it first started in the state last year as Team Director, coach and parent. Beginning that first year, we have had student athletes ranging from true beginners to those that have been racing for years. NICA, the NC league and all the coaches make sure everyone belongs. I have met many fellow coaches and parents through NICA that share a passion for biking and for helping kids become well-rounded individuals through biking. As a composite team made up of athletes from many different schools, my kids have become friends and riding buddies with people they would never have met otherwise. It has been a great experience for all of us and one we intend to continue with for years to come.
The folks at NICA are super dedicated to getting #morekidsonbikes. Along with thousands of volunteers around the country, they've created a movement that I'm grateful to be a part of.
I've seen the results in North Carolina. The Student-Athletes that I've had the honor of working with have developed a love of the sport that will last them a lifetime - and for those for whom traditional sports aren't a fit, they've found an identity that builds confidence and character.
As a former Board member, coach, and most importantly a parent of three athletes who each participated all four of their high school years it was a high school sports experience like no other. Too many happy contradictions to count. Fiercely competitive yet warm and welcoming to every kid and every family whether an elite competitor or timid beginner. Kids and families on opposing teams form lifelong friendships and cheer for every rider. The commitment to the long season of training and racing while balancing academics is a huge and transforming experience for kids who need that kind of life lesson in responsibility and time management before leaving for college or entering the workforce. I can't think of another high school sport where parents have so many opportunities to participate right along with their kids whether in training or race-day support. What a great whole-family experience!
I wish I could give it a hundred stars instead of just 5! This is our first NICA season as a family. My 13yr old heard about the Mtn Bike team from a friend back in the fall. We went to a meeting and were very intrigued. We were amazed at how organized and prepared the coaches were. This experience has made a lasting impression on our family. My husband is planning to get trained as a coach. My son has given up baseball after playing travel ball since he was 7 to pursue mountain biking!! The lessons he has learned over the last six months go way beyond riding a bike! This is a character building sport and NICA has such good organization that every rider that participates will be impacted for the rest of their life!!
Our son has participated in a local NICA chapter in Chapel Hill, NC for the past two years. To say he was a beginner last year would be an understatement! After the first practice we were sure he would throw his hands up and never get on his mountain bike again. But through the dedicating coaches and team members, he felt encouraged to keep trying and was probably the most improved kid on the team last year. He willingly signed up to participate again this year and has truly enjoyed the experience. He loves nature and being out in the woods on his bike has become one of his favorite activities. He has also gained confidence about riding around town with friends and trying new things that are at first challenging for him. I can't say enough wonderful things about the dedicated coaches for our local NICA group--they encourage him to push himself and remind him of how far he has come. And we love the emphasis on being students first, and athletes second. I honestly think he concentrates better on his school work after a ride! NICA is an amazing group of professionals who take biking seriously but keep it super fun for the kids.
I am a member of the NICA community in a variety of ways. First 2 of my 3 children have been NICA student-athletes with the third one planning on becoming a student-athlete next year. I have had the benefit of being a volunteer member of the North Carolina NICA League which ultimately led to a position with NICA National. I feel for student-athletes and adults alike NICA is building Strong Mind, Body and Character throughout US communities.
Where to start? This was my son's first season with NICA in Alabama. He's never been a "team sport" kid, but mountain biking captured his attention and he never looked back. The events have been great and well attended and the coaching and mentoring has been top notch. We're really looking forward to next season.
This was my son’s first year of mountain biking and we thouroghly enjoyed it. Each event was run in a professional manner and the student athletes all supported one another. The coaches and volunteers are top notch.
I’ve been a coach and volunteer with the Alabama league since it’s first year, four years ago. I’ve watched the coaches and core staff from across the state change lives of hundreds of kids. If it weren’t for NICA and the Alabama Interscholastic Cycling League, a lot of kids would’ve not had the opportunity to get outside and experience something new and find a niche where they do fit. Kudos to the entire NICA staff, Alabama core staff, and all coaches.
I've been involved with NICA since 2015, as a volunteer and board member. I've seen firsthand -- and had many grateful parents attest to (sometimes tearfully) -- the transformative power of NICA's programs on youth, their families and their communities. Mastering a new skill, setting and achieving goals, and having the opportunity to participate in a team sport are just a few of the benefits that NICA student-athletes experience. In addition, participating youth not only are more active and spend more time outdoors, but they also learn to appreciate our outdoor spaces and the need to build and protect them. Finally, our programs are stimulating economic development in cities and towns across the 23 (and growing!) states in which we operate. I feel fortunate to be involved with this organization, and am grateful to the thousands of volunteers, parents, youth and staff that make NICA the amazing nonprofit that it is!
As a coach and parent I've seen the transformative impacts for the youth at our school. The mountain biking team allows participation for both athletes and non-athletes; racers and adventures, and everyone in between. I especially enjoy hearing the buzz and excitement from the team about their accomplishments, experiences, and looking forward to the next challenge!
I first got involved with NICA as a coach, working to build the women's program for the Berkeley High Team. Such an amazing experience! Their programs help student-athletes gain self-confidence and learn a sport they can continue throughout their lifetime. Their values of inclusivity, equality, strong mind, body and character are clearly visible throughout their programs!