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Cycling merit badge

I have a few scouts that started the cycling merit badge. One asked about going to a local park that has a one mile loop that cyclists use to do training rides. I was wondering if this would be ok to fulfill the requirement since the only restriction that I see is that they must avoid main highways. I would be inclined to let the scout use this loop to be a bit safer from being on roads where cars are going 30+ miles per hour. Thoughts?

Personally, it doesn’t really seem to satisfy requirement 7 Option A (road biking). I’m not sure how a scout would lay it out on a map (part of 7c), at the very least, and it clearly doesn’t comply with 7a(2), 7a(4), 7a(5), and likely not 7a(6).

I probably wouldn’t balk at that being their “first” ride, but doing 2x10miles, 2x15 miles, and 2x25 miles for 7b all on the same 1 mile loop seems excessive, unless there’s another specific reason it couldn’t be done elsewhere. As in all “unusual” request situations, I would probably ask the scout to be clear about exactly why they are making the request, rather than just saying “no” off the block.

I agree that it is “safer” in terms of learning to ride and potentially for the purposes of earning the MB, but it seems to me, based on the requirements, that part of the intent of the MB is for the scout to develop a certain degree of proficiency regarding road biking (Option A) or mountain biking (Option B). I don’t see how a one-mile training track really addresses either of those goals.

By chance are you the counselor?

I guess I should be a bit more specific about the “loop”. One of our big parks in our city has a picnic area that has a road that loops around all of the picnic sites and does have crossing areas and stop signs. So they could theoretically do the safety portions there minus the railroad tracks which they can do down the street. This loop can be opened up to vehicular traffic or be fenced off for other events. I don’t believe this scout is intending to do every ride in that area.

yes. It has been quite a while since I last taught the merit badge so I thought i would get some opinions.

The idea sounds less strange, given the additional info. I would still make sure that they can explain to me (if I were their counselor) how the proposed ride satisfies the requirements (e.g. riding along parked cars, etc), or where we would do those portions of their “test-ride” for 7a that can’t be covered on the loop. I would probably also have a conversation about what they are thinking about (more generally) for their future rides just to get a feel for what they’re thinking.

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I know he has gone on longer rides with a friend of his before he started the badge so I know he is capable. I think the “loop” ride was so if one of his parents wanted to ride as well would tag along. I’m not sure of the parents riding ability so maybe this is one of the reasons why?

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There’s probably somewhere safe your Scout could do his/her mileage. Check with a local cycling advocacy group.

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As I read the requirements the longer rides he went on with a friend might well count for the requirements. The requirements only say to do the 10, 15, 25 mile rides. They do not say that the MB Counselor has to pre-approve them. Only that a record needs to be kept and buddy system be used. With a record he pretty much meets the reqs.
The reqs also do not say that the rides have to be in any order. Just that they all be done before the 50 mile ride. So the earlier trips should count.
While the safety check is not required before doing the rides, I’d insist on setting it up as soon as possible.

You might get him into Criterium racing. That’s a closed short loop with lots of corners and fast riding. I’d count one of those. :wink:

I both have Cycling MB and am a counselor.
One of my friends rode a 3 speed when we did our 50 mile trip.

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