Cycle Academy is a structured educational program geared toward youth cyclists concentrating on bicycle riding, safety, and maintenance skills. It focuses on hands-on learning, self-sufficiency, developing a healthy lifestyle by integrating bicycling into daily activities, and community service.
The curriculum is split into subject-specific badges, each of which focuses on a single skill or task. A unique aspect of the program is a dependency map or skills tree – a common feature in modern strategy games – linking badges together. Cyclists advance through the program by completing lower-level badges to satisfy the associated dependencies in order to progress to harder badges and more sophisticated skills.
All badges encourage learning by doing, directly engaging the cyclist through hands-on application of instruction. Cyclists are expected to display proficiency rather than perfection and can work alone, in pairs, or in a group to practice skills and/or to assist each other. When an instructor determines that a cyclist has demonstrated sufficient proficiency based on the program guidelines, the instructor awards the badge for the achievement. This model develops goal-setting and long-term planning by providing a reward and recognition framework that engenders personal incentives and group-based competition. The system is flexible enough to handle cyclists progressing at different rates and/or having specific interests. A cyclist can work on any unlocked badge at their current working level and the following level so long as they’ve completed the dependent badges. This helps to ensure the cyclist is well-rounded but can also temporarily focus on the skills they are most interested in.
The instructor’s role is that of a mentor and material expert who should be sufficiently proficient with the associated skills to lead, demonstrate, and assist the cyclists with the specific badge being covered. L1 and L2 badges are intended to be basic enough for the average parent without cycling experience to guide their child through those levels of the program without the necessity of special tools or skills. The goal of the program is to develop well-rounded lifestyle and recreational cyclists.
- Easily replicable or integrated into existing programs by third parties
- Can be applied to provide instruction to a group or utilized by a parent/guardian
- Involves mechanical, riding, safety, education, and community service components
- Badges in each level are geared toward the age group’s typical physical development, skill levels, and non-cycling related activities
- Badge levels map closely to the traditional public school grade level groupings (Level 1: K-5th, Level 2: 6th-8th, Level 3: 9th-12th, Level 4: Advanced Modules/Master Cyclist)
- A reward and recognition framework that is simple enough for younger cyclists to understand but also complex enough to be challenging and engaging for older riders