Bikepacking is amazing. But it can also be intimidating as a first-timer tries to figure out all the necessary gear and planning for their first trip. Wouldn’t it be great if there was some kind of traveling gear library that NICA leagues could use to introduce kids to bikepacking from an early age?

That’s exactly the thought behind the latest collaborative effort between Blackburn, Bikepacking Roots, and NICA. To make it happen, Blackburn has stepped up to provide enough bikepacking gear to cover 20 riders with Bikepacking Roots providing the on-trail instruction. This was originally intended to start this summer with at least five state chapters utilizing the traveling gear library to allow for up to 20 NICA athletes at a time to get out on their first bikepacking trip. Obviously, group events are on hold at the moment due to COVID, so for now the program will likely include “smaller, socially distanced, day camp style events.” Even so, the opportunity to try out bikepacking for free with all of the gear provided for you at an early age, seems like an awesome opportunity for the future of the sport!

From NICA:

BERKELEY, Calif. – The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), Blackburn Designs, and Bikepacking Roots are excited to announce a new partnership that establishes a bikepacking curriculum and traveling gear library for NICA student-athletes and coaches. Bikepacking Roots is providing the on-trail expertise and Blackburn is providing the funding and bikepacking kit for 20 riders as part of their Bronze Level sponsorship with NICA for 2020.

Blackburn Designs is an industry leader in innovative bicycling tools and accessories. Founded in 1975, Blackburn focuses their product design on the user’s perspective, showing respect for materials and their functionality while bringing unprecedented innovation to the cycling industry.

“We’ve been looking to get more involved with the future of bikepacking for the past few years,” said Blackburn Marketing Manager Dan Powell. “This partnership with NICA came up after the release of a video project ‘Wild Virtue’ we sponsored, and we felt like this was the opportunity we’d been waiting for. We’re very proud to be working with these two organizations.”

Bikepacking Roots is the first and only non-profit to support and advocate for the bikepacking community. The organization develops and sustains impactful multiday off-pavement cycling routes, advocates for the conservation of and access to the public lands and wild places through which we ride, and cultivates stewards who create a positive impact while exploring by bike.

“At Bikepacking Roots, we’re passionate about facilitating human-powered adventures in wild places and reducing barriers to those sorts of empowering experiences. I’ve watched the remarkable transformation new bikepackers go through in just a handful of short bikepacking trips, and I couldn’t be more excited to partner with NICA and Blackburn to create such an opportunity for kids across the United States,” shares Bikepacking Roots Executive Director, Kurt Refsnider, Ph.D.

“At NICA, our mission is to build strong minds, bodies, character, and communities through cycling. With Bikepacking Roots’ expertise and Blackburn’s generous support, we are excited to develop this innovative opportunity for self-sufficiency, exploration, friendship and joy,” said Steve Matous, NICA President. “With student athlete participation in NICA programs growing at over 20% annually, we are continuing to diversify our programming to include activities that promote adventure, build community, teach respect for the outdoors and are fun at the same time. Through initiatives like this, our student-athletes have the opportunity to develop a lifelong passion for mountain biking and outdoor recreation.”

About the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA)

The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA)’s mission is to build strong minds, bodies, character, and communities through cycling.

Founded in 2009 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, NICA develops interscholastic and community-based cycling programs for student-athletes and coaches across the United States. NICA provides leadership services and governance for local leagues to produce quality mountain bike events. NICA has served more than 55,000 student-athletes since 2009. Currently, NICA has 31 state and regional leagues and over 11,000

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