Dirt Tour

Join the Florida Interscholastic Cycling League. Make Mountain Biking YOUR School Sport!

 Florida League Dirt Tour

The Dirt Tour is our series of outreach events that takes us all around Florida. If you’re interested in coaching, starting a team, or are curious about what interscholastic mountain biking is all about, come see us! (However, in lieu of in person events during this time of COVID, we are presenting all of the information below!) We’ll cover topics including:

  1. What is NICA?
  2. The Florida League’s mission and values.
  3. How to start a team?
  4. How to join a team?
  5. How to become a coach?
  6. The season dates and programs.

What is this NICA thing all about? Sometimes seeing is believing, so first check out this video titled High School Mountain Biking is Blowing Up from the Wisconsin Interscholastic Cycling League. 

  1. What is NICA? The National Interscholastic Cycling Association’s mission is to build strong minds, bodies, character, and communities through cycling. They are guided by the following 5 core values:
  • FUN – NICA inspires friendship, joy, and adventure.
  • INCLUSIVITY – NICA believes everyone should be able to participate in our programs and feel welcomed, respected, and supported.
  • EQUITY – NICA is committed to fair treatment, equal access, opportunity, advancement, and elimination of barriers to encourage participation for all.
  • RESPECT – NICA expects consideration for all others, oneself, and the outdoors.
  • COMMUNITY – NICA unites diverse people, families, and communities through cycling by creating fun and welcoming experiences.

Read below for some additional highlights:

  • A youth development organization
  • Promotes mountain bike racing for grades 6-12
  • Formed in 2009
  • Now 31 leagues in 30 states 
  • 22,752 student-athletes in 2019
  • 11,711 coaches, 1,036 teams and over 10,000 volunteers!
  • Backed by Trek, Clif Bar, Gu, Camelback
  • For more information check out the NICA 2019 Highlights

2. The Florida NICA League, or FICL – Florida Interscholastic Cycling League:

  • A nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization
  • Chartered in June 2018
  • Governed by NICA
  • Provides program administration and oversight, coaches training, and resources to teams and volunteers
  • Not part of the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA)
  • 2019-2020 Season: 13 teams across the state of FL, 126 registered student-athletes, and 76 registered coaches

The Mission of the FL NICA League is to enable every Florida teen to develop a strong mind, a strong body and strong character through lifelong participation in cycling.  The Florida Interscholastic Cycling League:

  • Fills a niche for students whose needs aren’t met by traditional school sports
  • Gets kids outside
  • Welcomes & supports diversity in ability, ethnicity, gender, orientation, and skill level 
  • Promotes trail maintenance & stewardship
  • Improves focus and academic performance
  • Promotes health & fitness in teens & their families

3. How to start a team in Florida? No prior coaching experience is necessary and you don’t need to be a great rider. NICA and the FL league will provide the training and guidance you’ll need:

  • Risk management
  • Coaching and skills training
  • Starting a team
  • Videos, presentations, checklists, contacts

Coaching a team can WILL be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Check out the NICA Team Starter Kit for more information.

4. How to join a team? Check out our FICL Teams page for a look at where our teams are located, contact information for each, and more information about teams.

5. How to become a coach?

The purpose of NICA Coach License Program is to provide comprehensive training to NICA coaches so that they are equipped to provide quality programming to NICA student-athletes that meet national standards and best practices and develops strong mind, body and character.

NICA license certification also aids in protecting volunteers and riders with insurance, as well as protect our youth with background checks. Obtaining a NICA license includes benefits beyond the knowledge that comes with the training and the insurance program. Thanks to our generous NICA sponsors, licensed volunteers enjoy a number of discounts and other perks. These benefits vary by license level and also by League, click here for more information. Check out the Coach License Program page for more detailed information and please feel free to reach out to maxwell@floridamtb.org for more information.

6. Season dates and the programs.

A Spring scholastic-based training and racing season

  • September 12:  Online Leaders’ Summit for returning coaches. (For new coaches please see our Leaders’ Summit page)
  • October 15:  Registration and beginning of preseason – teams meet informally
  • December 1: In-Season – teams meet regularly for practice, conditioning and fun 
  • February-May: Event Season!
  • 4 planned events with both competitive and non-competitive riding options (Saturdays/Sundays) 

At the heart of NICA is a youth development program. Student-athletes are encouraged to race, but it is NOT required. Being a part of a team, learning new skills, spending time outside exploring new trails, is what this is all about. Being a part of a youth mountain bike team is a great outlet for both mental and physical health, especially now! If you have any more questions please contact League Director Maxwell Gledhill at maxwell@floridamtb.org