In celebration of Women’s History Month – we’re proud to highlight female student-athletes and coaches across NICA who are making a positive impact to our community. Coaches Cathy Witt and Becky Redett from the Maryland League formed an all-female team last year to introduce Baltimore City youth to the sport of mountain biking. Partnering with a local middle school, Commodore John Rodgers and the nearby Julie Community Center, the team practiced at Patterson Park, a historic 295 acre park located in the heart of Baltimore city. Thus, the Patterson Park Mountain Bike team was created!
NICA unites diverse people, families and communities through cycling by creating fun and welcoming experiences. Community is one of NICA’s Values and central to our mission to build strong minds, bodies, character and communities through cycling. Recently, we caught up with Carmen Luna, the Team Director for the SoCal League’s Eastlake High School and South Bay Composite teams to learn about the mountain biking community she’s been building in southern California.
Last month, the Montana League kicked off their inaugural season with one of the largest inaugural race in NICA’s history. Over 150 student-athletes participated in the Cross Cut Classic, and over 30% of the student-athletes were female. So what’s Montana’s secret sauce? We chatted with Heidi and Molly from Bozeman Youth Cycling, which makes up the Bozeman NICA team to find out how they’re working to build the youth cycling community in Bozeman to get #morekidsonbikes and #moregirlsonbikes.
Part of NICA’s mission is to not just get #morekidsonbikes but to build strong cycling communities and create lifelong cyclists. While NICA programs are designed for student-athletes in grades 6-12, there are many post-secondary cycling opportunities for all NICA alumni.
NICA GRiT (Girls Riding Together) is a national initiative to increase our overall female participation in NICA programs to 33% by 2023. Across participating leagues, GRiT Coordinators are hosting rides, camps, socializing opportunities and developing ambassador programs all aimed at increasing the number of girls and female coaches in NICA programs.
It’s summer camp time – and what’s more fun than spending the summer riding your bike with friends? Many NICA leagues offer summer camps for student-athletes that focus on adventure, GRiT, Teen Trail Corps activities and more. Camps are run by the NICA leagues and are staffed by certified NICA coaches and league staff. They’re a great opportunity to learn new skills, make new friends and above all – have FUN!
This summer Trek Bikes is offering their Trek Certified Assembly Technician 101 course for NICA student-athletes and coaches. The course is designed to educate student-athletes to perform bicycle maintenance on their own. Skills learned through this course will empower student-athletes to gain confidence with equipment operations and save time and money by completing maintenance themselves.
NICA is committed committed to fair treatment, equal access, opportunity, advancement and elimination of barriers to encourage participation for all. We are fortunate to have two members on our Board of Directors who are also extremely dedicated to improving equity in the athletic community. Susan Helm-Murtagh is NICA’s Board Chairperson and Julia German is a Board Member and Chairperson for the Rules Committee. Susan and Julia are also are two driving forces behind The Athletes’ Coalition (TAC), which is a non-profit that was developed in response to the pay game and other issues surround equity in the ultra-running community.
In celebration of Women’s History Month – we’re highlighting some of the visionary females across NICA who are making positive impacts on our mountain biking family!
In North Carolina’s Triangle region, Kevin Hicks is on a mission to get #morekidsonbikes. Kevin volunteers his time as Communications Director for the North Carolina Interscholastic Cycling League and also runs his own nonprofit, TriangleBikeWorks, which focuses on youth leadership. Their flagship program, Spoke’n Revolutions Youth Cycling provides cycling adventures for youth of color that promote teamwork, strengthens communication, deepens interpersonal responsibility and compassion, and heightens sensitivity to the natural environment.