No need to leave the state to go mountain biking now that the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) has launched a Florida chapter! The newly-formed Florida Interscholastic Cycling League (FL NICA) is a mountain biking league for children in grades 6-12 with the goal of encouraging more local children and families to ride bicycles. Florida’s wildlife and terrain have a lot to offer; the organization invites Floridians outside and off-road to explore the beauty in their own backyard while exercising and bonding with loved ones.
“I became part of the core founding team to help bring this opportunity to Florida kids,” said Lucy Gonzalez, Safe Routes to School Coordinator for Lake, Sumter, and Marion Counties and Coach Supporter for the Florida chapter. “My career is focused on getting kids moving because it is healthy and fun and helps them build new relationships. I felt NICA’s mission and vision fell in line with what I had been working on for a while, which is to get more kids on bikes, especially girls who can be overlooked or not asked to be a part of outdoor activities in other settings. FL NICA creates an equal, inclusive environment where we promote health and fitness as well as trail stewardship, so the kids get to be leaders,” Gonzalez said. “We’re creating a program to help them build strong minds and bodies.”