Push to start mountain biking club in schools

CLIMBworks offers a place mountain bikers can go for team training. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A Gatlinburg man is trying to get enough support to start mountain biking clubs in area middle and high schools. He hopes to get momentum going after Knoxville got approved for a grant for a new trail.

Andrew Wagner says right now 17 mountain bike teams are in Tennessee. NICA, or National Interscholastic Cycling Association, is trying to expand and offer the activity for kids who don't fit into traditional sports.

"It's not this crazy X game you know high flying stuff. This type of mountain biking is referred to as cross country," said Wagner.

He says the clubs are designed for beginners and advanced bikers. He says the idea is to build a foundation for safe biking.

"We can set there and have the fun, like coming to a place like CLIMBworks, or hit some of the safer trails in Knoxville," Wagner added.

The Tennessee league started in 2013 and is offered for middle and high school kids. Wagner says the team could start with a team for the region and then expand to individual schools.

There's also scholarships available. Over 25 universities nationwide offer scholarships, 3 in Tennessee.

"That's super exciting if you are a parent because if you want your kids to go to school in the future well here is a way of offsetting the cost," he said.

It would cost $25 to join and then parents would have to purchase their kids bike. Information can be found by emailing Andrew Wagner at ETNNICA@gmail.com.