And they’re off! USA Cycling launched their Search for Speed program in February, aimed at getting underrepresented and diverse communities interested in track cycling. So far they’ve been visiting high schools throughout the Los Angeles area, letting students try their legs on the Wattbike—a high intensity stationary bike that accurately measures power. Kids get the chance to give it their all and see how many watts they can push.
The goal with the program is to introduce the sport to the next generation. Maybe they’ll spark a lifelong love of cycling. Maybe they’ll find the next Olympic star. Many American children grow up with opportunities to play basketball, football, baseball, and softball. Little League and pickup games at the neighborhood court. Those experiences shape young lives.
But track cycling? Not many have the resources to try high-speed pedaling at a young age. With the help of Rapha, Look, and Wattbike, USA Cycling is looking to change that. They want track cycling to be part of young people’s lives the same way that other sports are. They want to give kids confidence through cycling.
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This week they visited ICEF Public school. No surprise that the kids often out-pedaled the adults who gave it a try. Turns out, kids like pushing hard and seeing big numbers — they like learning something new and feeling strong. And regardless of the results, it was an opportunity for many to try a sport they had never even heard of, and be cheered on by their peers.
USA Cycling will continue to have try-outs open to the public at various locations around LA for the next few months. Participants must be under the age of 18 and have permission from their parent or guardian.
The process takes about 20-minutes and requires athletic clothes and shoes. According to the website, top participants from the tryouts will be invited to an invitation-only combine final where they will have the opportunity to meet performance benchmarks and qualify for talent integration and development camps.