Guest Author: Cycling Merit Badge, Boy Scouts of America, By Shane Stock

Boy Scouts are required to get either the Cycling, Swimming or Hiking merit badge as part of the requirements on their path to Eagle Scout Rank, which is the highest rank a Scout can achieve. To get merit badges they work through adult counselors. To sign up as a counselor you need to locate the council nearest you and fill out an application. To get an application go to and click on the “local councils” tab and plug in your zip code. If you like working with youth and have some time to go on a few bike rides with some Scouts and to go over some cycling basics, this can be a fun and fulfilling experience. Below are the requirements for the cycling merit badge. The main requirements are numbers 7 and 8. In requirement 8 they have to do a 50 mile bike trip. Here are a few photos of when I was working with some Scouts from Laredo.

1. Show that you know first aid for injuries or illnesses that could occur while cycling, including hypothermia, heat reactions, frostbite, dehydration, insect stings, tick bites, snakebites, blisters and hyperventilation.

2. Clean and adjust a bicycle. Prepare it for inspection using a bicycle safety checklist. Be sure the bicycle meets local laws.

3. Show your bicycle to your counselor for inspection. Point out the adjustments or repairs you have made. Do the following:

a. Show all points that need oiling regularly.
b. Show points that should be checked regularly to make sure the bicycle is safe to ride.
c. Show how to adjust brakes, seat level and height, and steering tube.

4. Describe how to brake safely with foot brakes and with hand brakes.

5. Show how to repair a flat. Use an old bicycle tire.

6. Take a road test with your counselor and demonstrate the following:

a. Properly mount, pedal, and brake including emergency stops.
b. On an urban street with light traffic, properly execute a left turn from the center of the street; also demonstrate an alternate left turn technique used during periods of heavy traffic.
c. Properly execute a right turn.
d. Demonstrate appropriate actions at a right-turn-only lane when you are continuing straight.
e. Show proper curbside and road-edge riding. Show how to safely ride along a row of parked cars.
f. Cross railroad tracks properly.

7. Describe your state’s traffic laws for bicycles. Compare them with motor-vehicle laws. Know the bicycle-safety guidelines.

8. Avoiding main highways, take two rides of 10 miles each, two rides of 15 miles each, and two rides of 25 miles each. You must make a report of the rides taken. List dates, routes traveled, and interesting things seen.

9. After fulfilling requirement 8, lay out on a road map a 50-mile trip. Stay away from main highways. Using your map, make this ride in eight hours.

Source: 2007 Boy Scout Requirements (33215)

Shane Stock


  1. TJ Eckleburg

    I guess there’s no merit badge for wearing a helmet properly.

  2. tad

    Hehe, that is a funny picture.

    Thanks for posting this! I am an Eagle scout and I have been thinking about ways to give back to the organization (while avoiding any association at all with what are, in my opinion, BSA’s questionable social politics). This may be just the ticket!

  3. benjdm

    I’d love to help the scouts out as soon as they stop discriminating. No warning for people that they have to be heterosexual and a theist in order to fill out the application?

  4. 2whls3spds

    Great disservice there with the helmet positioning. IMHO you better off with no helmet rather than an improperly worn one…


  5. ottawa_adam

    And three of your kids’ helmets aren’t fitted properly.

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