The Youth Cycling Coalition (YCC), a partnership of 10 youth-focused bicycling organizations, has announced a commitment to growing youth bicycling through the launch of a pilot program in Morgantown, West Virginia.
Founded in 2019 with leaders from youth cycling programs across the U.S., the YCC brings together industry partners and bicycling advocates to get more children on bikes and keep them riding into adulthood. With a vision of collaboration and collective action, the YCC operates on the understanding that bicycling provides direct mental and physical health benefits for youth today, and continued riding can secure these benefits long term.
The Youth Cycling Coalition is composed of the following organizations: Free Bikes 4 Kidz, The League of American Bicyclists, Little Bellas, National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), PeopleForBikes, Project Bike Tech, Safe Routes Partnership, Trips For Kids, USA BMX Foundation and USA Cycling.
The pilot program in Morgantown will combine the collective network, resources, programming and expertise of each organization as well as local partners. By ensuring kids have access to bikes, offering recreational and competitive opportunities as well as a mode of active transportation to reach everyday destinations, the YCC anticipates the partnership helping cities and towns fully integrate bicycling into the everyday lives of our nation’s youth.
"As we look to ignite a passion for biking through experiential learning and STEM with our programs, we are pleased to support this historic, collaborative effort,” said Mercedes Ross, executive director of Project Bike Tech and Mike DuVarney, executive director of USA BMX Foundation. “Each partner involved is committed to providing the youth of Morgantown opportunities that not only benefit them now, but also extend far beyond the classroom with 21st-century skills employers are looking for.”
In Morgantown, West Virginia University and the Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative (OEDC) are working with the YCC to build on their goals of introducing more youth to bicycling and growing outdoor recreation opportunities in the region.
The energy of a college town coupled with an abundance of established outdoor recreation assets makes Morgantown an ideal outdoor community to serve as a pilot for the YCC.
“The City of Morgantown is privileged to be selected as the initial site for the YCC’s pilot program,” said Morgantown Mayor Rob Delaney. “Not only do we offer great recreational cycling opportunities locally, but as a community, we have been working hard to build more bicycle-friendly infrastructure throughout our city.”
With support from the Flagg Family Foundation, USA Cycling and PeopleForBikes will provide seed funding for the initiative while also engaging in the work. The two organizations recently partnered in efforts to support getting, and keeping, more people riding bikes nationwide.
“Growing bicycling in the U.S. starts with getting more kids on bikes and keeping them riding into adulthood. USA Cycling and PeopleForBikes will bring our history of partnership — and the resources and networks of each organization — to this comprehensive youth-focused initiative,” said USA Cycling President Rob DeMartini and PeopleForBikes CEO Jenn Dice. “We know that investing in youth is investing in the future of our communities. The nonprofits that came together to design and steer this program are a talented and effective bunch — we are proud to be part of the Youth Cycling Coalition.”
The YCC looks forward to building collaboration around getting more kids on bikes and sharing stories of innovative and effective partnerships in Morgantown, a future pilot program in Charlotte, North Carolina, and other communities nationwide.