BERKELEY, Calif. (Sept.28, 2015) — The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) was presented with the Next Generation Award at the U.S. cycling industry’s annual Interbike trade show, September 17.
NICA’s executive director, Austin McInerny, said, “It is a great honor to be recognized by the cycling industry as an organization that can actually reverse the trend of declining youth bike sales. With more than 10,000 students and coaches currently in the NICA network, each spending an average of $1,500 annually, we are making a dent already, but just imagine a decade or so from now when our network is counted not in the tens, but in the hundreds of thousands? I think the message is getting through to the cycling industry in general that a donation to NICA, or support of a school team, is an investment in our common future. This year, NICA also received the Outdoor Inspiration Award at the Outdoor Retailer show, which I think acknowledges that no other group is creating as many outdoor enthusiasts as quickly as NICA. The key point about NICA for the industry is that our influence doesn’t stop at high school. We are creating life-long cyclists and cycling families that make bike-specific trips.”
With an almost unbroken chain of states across the U.S.A. with a NICA league, NICA’s presence is being felt by an increasing number of bicycle shops.
Matt Adams, owner of Mike’s Bikes in Northern California said, “The participating students and their families are very loyal to the companies that support the league and their teams. We see a good amount of sales in return for our support, which comes in the form of tech support, discounts, event presence, etc. The adage that a sale to a student-athlete can often result in a future sales to the entire family is a common experience at Mike’s Bikes.”
Austin McInerny elaborated, “Every school team should be associated with their local bike shop. Dealers around the country have made this relationship benefit their bottom line, and our main sponsors, large manufacturers and distributors have recognized the long-term potential in this, and while they have supported our growth thus far, to achieve our full growth potential, we will need a lot more grassroots support.”
The original sponsor of interscholastic cycling is Berkeley based Clif Bar & Company. The Clif Bar Family Foundation has stepped-up in conjunction with Quality Bicycle Products to fund NICA’s Share the Ride Booster Club drive, which started September 14th and will run to November 15th, 2015.
The aim is for leagues across the country, as well as NICA national office to join in raising $50,000, of which Clif will match the full $50,000, and QBP $10,000, with the objective of raising well over $100,000. NICA supporters can click nationalmtb.org/boosterclub/ to provide a tax-deductible donation to support this effort.
As of September 2015, NICA has 19 state and regional leagues, and 3,000 coaches who are working with nearly 7,500 student-athletes from 522 high schools in the USA. 75% of NICA student-athletes report that their participation has inspired other family members and/or friends to start or resume cycling. And, 90% of participants report physical and mental health improvements since joining their school’s mountain bike team.
Founded in 2009 as a 501(c)3 non-profit, the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) develops interscholastic mountain biking programs for student-athletes and coaches across the United States. NICA provides leadership, services and governance for local leagues to produce quality mountain bike events, and supports every student-athlete in the development of strong body, strong mind and strong character through their efforts on the bike.