The trail to Cycling merit badge just got a bit rougher

But that’s a good thing. At least, it is for Scouts who love to mountain bike.

The BSA has approved a mountain biking option for Cycling, a merit badge mainstay since 1911. So for the first time, Scouts who prefer fat tires instead of thin can earn the badge.

The news comes in advance of next summer’s opening of the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia, where mountain biking will play a big role in the high-adventure fun.

Here’s what else I know about the change:

  • The patch design will stay the same.
  • An updated requirements book will allow Scouts to choose one of two tracks: road cycling and mountain biking.
  • Expect new pamphlets in late 2012 or early 2013, but Scouts who start the merit badge with the old pamphlets can still finish will those requirements.
  • Members, who told BSA professionals and volunteers that Scouts want this option, drove this decision.

In fact, commenters on Bryan on Scouting have championed mountain biking for a long time. Commenter Gregory Gamache wrote, “Why not a Mountain Bike Merit Badge? Mountain Biking has become a separate sport from road cycling. It has its own equipment and skills. However, the cycling merit badge is all about road cycling.”

Commenter Sian Barranco added, “Could simply be a Track B with separate riding requirements. Change the distances; keep the safety; adapt the mechanical requirements. Not a really difficult adaptation. We live in eastern TN and mountain ride a lot. The Scouts are more interested in mountain than road riding.”

Well, Gregory and Sian, ask and you shall receive!

About Cycling merit badge

Cycling, first introduced as a merit badge in 1911, is an option for the Eagle Scout rank. Scouts can choose among Cycling, Hiking, or Swimming.

See the current Cycling merit badge requirements.

Keep up with merit badge updates

At the New Merit Badges guide, right here on Bryan on Scouting.

What do you think?

Will this change mean more Scouts earn Cycling merit badge? Leave your thought below.

Photo by Roger Morgan/BSA

About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.