Cycling Merit Badge Requirements and Worksheet

Cycling Merit Badge

Cycling Merit Badge

July, 2013

Note: The bicycle used for fulfilling these requirements must have all required safety features and must be registered as required by your local traffic laws.

Requirements for the Cycling merit badge:

  1. Do the following:
    1. Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while participating in cycling activities and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards.
    2. Show that you know first aid for injuries or illnesses that could occur while cycling, including cuts, scratches, blisters, sunburn, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, hypothermia, dehydration, insect stings, tick bites, and snakebite. Explain to your counselor why you should be able to identify the poisonous plants and poisonous animals that are found in your area.
    3. Explain the importance of wearing a properly sized and fitted helmet while cycling, and of wearing the right clothing for the weather. Know the BSA Bike Safety Guidelines.
  2. Clean and adjust a bicycle. Prepare it for inspection using a bicycle safety checklist. Be sure the bicycle meets local laws.
  3. Show your bicycle to your counselor for inspection. Point out the adjustments or repairs you have made. Do the following:
    1. Show all points that need oiling regularly.
    2. Show points that should be checked regularly to make sure the bicycle is safe to ride.
    3. Show how to adjust brakes, seat level and height, and steering tube.
  4. Describe how to brake safely with foot brakes and with hand brakes.
  5. Show how to repair a flat by removing the tire, replacing or patching the tube, and remounting the tire.
  6. Describe your state’s traffic laws for bicycles. Compare them with motor-vehicle laws. Know the bicycle-safety guidelines.
  7. Using the BSA buddy system, complete all of the requirements for ONE of the following options: road biking OR mountain biking.
    1. Road Biking
      1. Take a road test with your counselor and demonstrate the following:
        1. Properly mount, pedal, and brake, including emergency stops.
        2. On an urban street with light traffic, properly execute a left turn from the center of the street; also demonstrate an alternate left-turn technique used during periods of heavy traffic.
        3. Properly execute a right turn.
        4. Demonstrate appropriate actions at a right-turn-only lane when you are continuing straight.
        5. Show proper curbside and road-edge riding. Show how to ride safely along a row of parked cars.
        6. Cross railroad tracks properly.
      2. Avoiding main highways, take two rides of 10 miles each, two rides of 15 miles each, and two rides of 25 miles each. You must make a report of the rides taken. List dates for the routes traveled, and interesting things seen.
      3. After completing requirement b for the road biking option, do ONE of the following:
        1. Lay out on a road map a 50-mile trip. Stay away from main highways. Using your map, make this ride in eight hours.
        2. Participate in an organized bike tour of at least 50 miles. Make this ride in eight hours. Afterward, use the tour’s cue sheet to make a map of the ride.
    2. Mountain Biking
      1. Take a trail ride with your counselor and demonstrate the following:
        1. Properly mount, pedal, and brake, including emergency stops.
        2. Show shifting skills as applicable to climbs and obstacles.
        3. Show proper trail etiquette to hikers and other cyclists, including when to yield the right-of-way.
        4. Show proper technique for riding up and down hills.
        5. 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.
        6. 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.

Cycling Worksheet

 Mar 08, 2013 - Stan Duduch
It is being suggested that if the boys want to ride the 50 mile leg of the PanMass Challenge ( huge fundraising effort here in Ma.) that it would not qualify as the route has been laid out by another organization. T or F ?
I was envisioning a group effort riding as a fundraising team.
Mar 08, 2013 - Scouter Paul
Stan - I think it's a great idea to ride and raise funds for a good cause.  I also understand the interpretation of the requirement that the scout is to lay out the 50-mile trip.  But, when there's a question like this, I try to figure out the Intent vs. the Letter of the requirement.
I would have no problem giving each scout a map and asking him to make a route from Point A to Point B.  We would then compare their routes to the PanMass defined route and discuss the pros and cons of each.

Here's something to think about.  If four scouts are doing the merit badge with a counselor, do they need to go on four 50-mile trips?  One planned by each scout?  I expect the counselor would have them work together to make a single route.
May 06, 2013 - Ted Moon
I understood a mountain bike variation was being created for the Cycling MB with more reasonable length rides. Is this forthcoming?
May 06, 2013 - Scouter Paul
Ted - That's correct.  It's expected to be available to coincide with the Jamboree this summer.  Requirements are not out yet.
Oct 06, 2013 - Cindy Cocalis
My son is starting to work on the Cycling Badge. Can you tell me if the MT bike requirements have been adopted and where I can find them?
Apr 17, 2014 - Adria Williams
What are the definitions of Road Biking and mountain biking?  We have several long paved trails here in the Salt Lake Valley would they count as Mountain Biking or Road Biking?  
Apr 18, 2014 - Scouter Paul
@Adria - great question!  It seems that a paved bike trail system is right between the two Road and Trail options for the merit badge.
The best thing to do is ask the Cycling merit badge counselor since s/he is the one that accepts the scouts' work.

My take:  it would be Road Biking, but the scout couldn't use the trail for requirement 7-a-1.  He'd need to demonstrate some things on a road.
Aug 10, 2014 - Scout Master Troop 310
I Have A Boy That Is Both Physical And Metal Handicap. He Can Walk, But Slow Has Poor Balance. What Has Others Done To Complete This Merit Badge ? Tricycle Bike ?
Aug 10, 2014 - Scouter Paul
@SM T310 - The merit badge requirements do say to use a bicycle, or bike.  That means two wheels.  I've heard of some counselors letting scouts use other types of pedal-powered vehicles, such as trikes, quads, and tandems.

You could talk with your district advancement chair for ideas on how this scout should proceed.  Not all scouts are able to complete all merit badges.  That is why there are alternate rank requirements for scouts with disabilities.  But, those alternate options do not drop down into specific requirements for an individual merit badge - to earn a merit badge, the scout is supposed to complete all requirements as written for that badge.
Sep 09, 2014 - Andrea Jolley
My troop is confused how to calculate miles for cycling. You must earn cycling and have 100 miles for the badge. If the cycling badge requires 100 total miles in itself, does this mean that the youth needs an additional 100 miles. This would bring total to 200 miles to earn the riding arc of national outdoor badge. Or, is the 100 miles ridden for cycling mb all that is needed to earn the patch?
Also, the book indicates that the youth ride under the auspices of BSA guidelines. Does this mean that each ride must be a scheduled scouting event with two deep leadership or can the youth ride with family and friends on his own to count miles under the supervision of parents and signed off by a Scoutmaster?
Thank you
Sep 09, 2014 - Scouter Paul
@Andrea - See the  National Outdoor Badge requirements and notice Riding says to earn the Cycling merit badge AND 100 miles of cycling.  That is a total of 200 miles, and that matches requirement #3.
You might read this page about interpreting 'under the auspices'.  Riding with family, friends, church, sports team, ... should not normally be counted.  But, if you read the last part from Eric Hiser, the Scoutmaster may allow individual efforts specifically done for an award.  If I were that Scoutmaster, I would need the scout to get his plan of effort approved with me beforehand.

Sep 17, 2014 - Edith Villareal
Greetings all,for those asking what constitutes road biking and trail biking, road biking is done on the road with a road bike at a faster pace.  Trail riding is done primarily with a mountain bike that can ride on loose gravel.  They are two distinct forms of cycling.  I am a road cyclist and have been training my son in road cycling.  He just started 2.5 months ago and is already doing 35 mile rides in 2 hours. He will soon be up to doing a 50 mile ride 3.5 hours.  I will have to discuss with his Scout Master if he will accept this.  I plan on teaching the cycling merit badge to those in our troop interested in road cycling.
Oct 20, 2014 - LarryM
@Edith Villareal
Hi Edith.  I think it’s great they your son shares your enthusiasm for cycling, and that you are going to become a Cycling Merit Badge counselor.  

You wrote, “I will have to discuss with his Scout Master if he will accept this.”   Only a merit badge counselor who is registered for the particular merit badge can sign off on a scout having completed a merit badge requirement.  The Scout Master cannot approve or disapprove any Cycling Merit Badge requirement unless he or she is registered as a Cycling Merit Badge counselor.  

The scout should meet with the MB counselor before starting work on the badge to ensure the activity really meets the requirements.  For example, a counselor would probably not accept a 50 mile ride that was entirely on rail trails, or if there was any doubt that the scout knew the rules of the road and could execute the road test material while on the ride.  

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