Into the Trails

NICA is helping to get more youth on bikes


Photo courtesy T. Boxx

NICA racers line up before getting called to the starting line.

Andy Ratterree, Viking Voices Co-Editor

In 2009, NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association) was founded in order to manage and organize youth mountain bike leagues that were created nation-wide. Currently, NICA has 30 leagues across the United States for bikers from ages 12-18. NICA’s goal is to encourage more youth to explore nature through biking.

On NICA’s online website at, they state that their mission is to, “Build stronger minds, bodies, character, and communities through cycling,”.

So far, they have reached over 40,000 youth and coaches to help bring fun and inclusivity around the U.S. Each state has one to two NICA leagues with four to five races each depending on the weather. In South Carolina, there are 15 high school and middle school leagues spread throughout the Upstate, Midland, Pee Dee, and Low Country areas. Spartanburg County Composite Mountain Bike (SCCM) is Spartanburg Counties’ own South Carolina NICA team.

SCCM has been an official team for two years and currently has around 20 active racers. This year SCCM finished seventh out of 18 teams for the high school category and 10th out of 18 teams for the middle school category. In the Upstate, there also are two Greenville, Anderson, and Issaquena teams, as well as a team in Powdersville.

Myles Klosterman (9) is a first-time participant of SCCM and appreciates the attitude of the racers, “I definitely will do it again when it opens back up. I enjoyed being on the team because biking is something I already enjoyed, and I felt being on the team helped me get better at it. I think that it was an effective way to get kids to bike because it never feels like you needed to be good to be on the team because they had multiple groups based on skill level and the option to not participate in competitions,” Klosterman said.

The NICA pre-season events start in June and real practice starts in early July. The race season is from September to mid-November. Throughout these six months of the year, racers get to know each other better, as well as getting to know other teams’ racers. Camaraderie and good sportsmanship are values that South Carolina Interscholastic Cycling League (SCICL) holds. They strive to help form these qualities.

Although not competing himself, Sebastian Cartwright (9) watched his younger brother compete in the races and only had compliments for NICA and SCCM. “I think that SCCM is an amazing opportunity to get out and exercise while still having fun with friends. The team is very close-knit, and they are all supportive of each other,” Cartwright said.