Bryan on Scouting

Mountain biking added as an option in Cycling merit badge

Do your Scouts prefer their bike tires fat instead of thin? Then I’ve got good news.

Beginning today, Cycling merit badge now includes a mountain biking option. That means Scouts can choose between road cycling or mountain biking when earning the Eagle-required badge. (To earn Eagle, Scouts must earn Swimming or Hiking or Cycling.)

The change is to Requirement 7, which now reads “Using the BSA buddy system, complete all of the requirements for ONE of the following options: road biking OR mountain biking.”

Instead of a 50-mile road biking trip that must be completed in eight hours, Scouts who choose the mountain biking option must finish a 22-mile trail ride in six hours.

The change widens the audience for an already-popular merit badge by encouraging Scouts who prefer riding the trails on a mountain bike to riding the streets on a road bike.

Print this flier (PDF) or follow the jump for the complete requirements for 7b, the Mountain Biking option. 

Cycling merit badge mountain biking option

7. Using the BSA buddy system, complete all of the requirements for ONE of the following options: road biking OR mountain biking.

b. Mountain Biking

(1) Take a trail ride with your counselor and demonstrate the following:

(a) Properly mount, pedal, and brake, including emergency stops.

(b) Show shifting skills as applicable to climbs and obstacles.

(c) Show proper trail etiquette to hikers and other cyclists, including when to yield the right-of-way.

(d) Show proper technique for riding up and down hills.

(e) Demonstrate how to correctly cross an obstacle by either going over the obstacle on your bike or dismounting your bike and crossing over or around the obstacle.

(f) Cross rocks, gravel, and roots properly.

(2) Describe the rules of trail riding, including how to know when a trail is unsuitable for riding.

(3) On trails approved by your counselor, take two rides of 2 miles each, two rides of 5 miles each, and two rides of 8 miles each. You must make a report of the rides taken. List dates for the routes traveled, and interesting things seen.

(4) After fulfilling the previous requirement, lay out on a trail map a 22-mile trip. You may include multiple trail systems, if needed. Stay away from main highways. Using your map, make this ride in six hours.