Frequently Asked Questions


  1. How much does it cost to participate in one of NICA’s teams? In 2024, Indiana’s NICA league fee is $300 for the first child, and a 10% discount for the second child. This covers all four races, and national and state NICA dues. If you have more than two children participating, contact your local Team Director to discuss your specific situation.
  2. Who can participate on a NICA team? Indiana’s NICA league is for every child from middle school (6th – 8th grade) and high school (9th to 12th grade) regardless of ability, gender, or financial means. Contact your local Team Director to discuss your specific situation.
  3. How do I register my child for a NICA team? Contact your local Team Director or Head Coach. They will send you an invitation to the NICA Pit Zone website where you can fill in all the required information, sign waivers, and ensure your child is enrolled for insurance. The Pit Zone is an invitation-only registration system. When your coach invites you to register with the team you will receive an invitation email from the NICA Pit Zone. Once you receive your invite, click on the invitation link and follow the registration process. Make sure to sign the electronic waivers and pay your registration fees. Your child will not be Practice Ready until your waivers are signed and your NICA, and league fees are paid.
  4. What equipment is required to ride on a NICA team? The two required pieces of equipment for the season are a NICA-approved mountain bike (26 – 29 inch wheels with a minimum of 1.75 inch knobby tires, front and back brakes, more than one speed, no dropped bars, no extended bar ends) that is the right size for the student athlete, and a comfortable helmet meeting appropriate national standards that fits the rider. NICA suggests a visit to a local bike shop with the bike your child intends to use for the season to check for appropriateness, safety, and functionality of the equipment. If your child does not have a mountain bike, there are a range of mountain bike qualities with a variety of features at several price points that your local bike shop will be happy to show you, or that you can find used.
  5. What does a NICA season look like? Indiana’s NICA is considered a fall league.  The season and practices begin around 1 July each year, and finishes at the last race in late October. There are typically 1 – 2 practices per week, depending on school schedules. The racing season includes four weekends between late August and late October. There are up to six pre-season activities scheduled (between November and July) which may include teams from other areas as part of a larger event. Smaller events such as skills events, bike checks, and fun rides may also be included.
  6. Do we have to attend every practice or event? NICA believes that community is an important part of student athlete development, but also recognizes that each family may have times when attendance is not possible.
  7. What if my child wants to be on the team but doesn’t want to race? That’s fine! If your child ends up wanting to race during the season, they will be welcomed to do so!
  8. What does a race weekend look like? Events start on Saturday around midday. For the student athletes and coaches, there are pre-rides to get familiar with the course. There may be a family ride on an easier section of the venue. There are multitudes of volunteer opportunities from stringing tape around the warmup courses, to setting up tables, tents, and the pit zone. In the evening, unwind and have some laughs with the “just-for-fun” rubber chicken relays on the warmup course, where riders from all teams can participate! There is plenty of time for community and to enjoy the beautiful venues. On Sunday, the races begin about 9 AM with the younger participants leaving in waves, followed by the female student athletes. There is often a food truck available for a quick lunch, then the older and varsity student athletes start their circuits. Once everyone is finished, the course is quickly torn down, and the award ceremonies begin. Everything is wrapped up around 4:30.
  9. Can I ride with my student athlete or help during practices? NICA teams welcome adults who are at least a Level 1 coach to help with the team! A Level 1 coach has passed a background check and understands NICA’s philosophy, culture, and risk management.  They also understand NICA’s student athlete interaction policies, as well as athlete safety policies and are committed to implementing them with our student athletes.
  10. What other benefits do paid NICA members have? NICA student athletes are provided insurance at all practices and races. They may also get discounts available from major manufacturers for bikes and accessories such as helmets. Some local bike shops elect to participate in discounts for NICA student athletes and coaches. More information is available from NICA’s Pit Zone once your child has been registered.
  11. How do I start an interscholastic mountain bike team? Administrators, teachers, students, community members –  anyone can potentially begin a cycling club at their local high or middle school. Every district works a little differently, but most school’s athletic programs depend on the support of community members. Visit your school and ask questions about their current sports programs and clubs. Whether considered a club or an athletic program, it is important to find support from the school. Discuss your plans and ideas with your school administration, and you’re ready to get started. Next, you’ll need to meet a few NICA coaching requirements to get the team underway.
  12. How do I recruit kids for a team? Teams have had success with many different recruiting techniques. Hosting a Bike Club table at Club Rush (or whatever your high school or middle school Club recruitment day is called) is a great way to garner initial interest. Meeting with the Athletic Director in order to educate them about your new club is another idea. Email the Indiana League at john@indianamtb.org and ask if there are current teams or clubs that you can connect with in your area. Put an article in the school newspaper, get parents to talk to other parents, or send an email to your school’s Boosters Club. There are lots of ways to get kids interested in cycling!
  13. Do I have to have insurance for a club or team? Yes. Do not run a program without adequate insurance coverage! NICA provides comprehensive liability insurance to all teams and coaches who officially register with the Indiana League.