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AT FIRST GLANCE, the Cycling arete brand seems like one of tse arete badges that aloof about any Scouter could advise (uming he or she is registered as a arete brand counselor). After all, you absolutely never balloon w to ride a bike. But a advisor w’s an ardent cyclist can accomplish the brand added than aloof logging afar and blockage off requirements; he or she can acquaint Scouts to a action they can accompany for a lifetime. 

Craig McNeil is a good example. An aboriginal backer of aba a mountain-biking basic to the Cycling arete badge, McNeil, w lives in Littleton, Colo., has alien dreds of Scouts to the action at Timberline District camporees.

Scouting talked with McNeil to get his insights on teaching the Cycling arete badge.

What to RideHigh-end bikes can amount bags of dollars, but Scouts can complete the arete brand — and abundant added — after spending abundant money.

Basic aliment is alike added important with bikes that go off-road. “Any affectionate of dust that gets into the bearings will affect the constancy of the bike if you don’t booty affliction of it,” McNeil says.

McNeil, w rides a full-suspension bike that’s a few years old, says acceptable acclimated bikes (that aren’t too expensive) are accessible to appear by at bounded bike sps and through websites like Craigslist. “People w are austere riders tend to feel like they charge to be the aboriginal adopters in accepting the latest and greatest,” he says.

Bike MaintenanceTeaching bike aliment ability be the bigger claiming for attorneys w are accidental cyclists. Some counselors recruit bike-sp mechanics to accompany accoutrement and adjustment stands to a troop meeting.

McNeil recommends accomplishing the aforementioned thing. He additionally emphasizes the accent of actuality able to change a tire. “When you’re out, you’re activity to get collapsed tires,” he says. “It’s added acceptable to appear in the dupe than on the road.”

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Essential SkillsFor alley biking, Scouts charge accept cartage laws, w to use their bikes’ apparatus finer and w to acquaint with adolescent riders. But the best capital accomplishment ability be what’s alleged “car management.” For example, a addition can abash a car from casual him in a dark ambit by afloat abroad from the sulder. Then, aback it’s safe to canyon and the car moves beyond the centermost line, he can alluvion aback to the accept to acquiesce added casual room.

In the apple of abundance biking, capital abilities are balance, ability and fo. McNeil recommends spending time in a parking lot alive on “skills and drills.” For example, you could actualize a slalom advance out of cartage cones or body a baby obstacle with 2-by-8 boards that riders charge bunny-p over. He additionally brand to accept riders aces up baptize bottles from the arena or limbo beneath a braiding blind about beyond their path.

Skills and drills can abide already you get on the trail. McNeil suggests award spots to convenance water-bottle pickups or aggressive hills in your everyman accessory after stopping.

Where to RideRoad cyclists can ride aloof about anywhere except controlled-access highways, but some routes are bigger than others. With amateur Scouts, you’ll appee to accept big amateur and low cartage volumes. He suggests application Google Maps in bike approach or allurement an accomplished cyclist to architecture some routes based on your Scouts’ accomplishment level.

For mountain-biking trails, McNeil recommends sing with the International Abundance Bicycling Association website (imba.com) or artlessly accomplishing a Web chase for trails in your area. “I don’t affliction area you alive — Kentucky, Texas, Iowa, Oklama — there are affluence of places you can go and get acclivity gains,” he says.

As with alley biking, there are additionally places to abstain off-road. “You can acquisition some absolutely balmy and accessible stuff, and you can acquisition added being that’s absolute gnarly,” McNeil says. “We try to abstain that at all costs.”

Of course, Scouts can alum to gnarly trails as they advance bigger skills, aloof as they can advance from 50-mile rides to cross-country trips. And the fun doesn’t accept to end already they acquire the arete badge.

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