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Old 01-29-07, 04:07 PM   #1
Roody
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Could you earn a Boy Scout Bicycling Merit Badge?

eubi posted the link for a Boy Scout Cycling Merit Badge on another thread. I thought it seemed like a good test of cycling skills. Could you pass it?



Quote:
Originally Posted by www.meritbadge.com
Boy Scout Merit Badge Requirements


CYCLING

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. The bicycle must have all required safety features. It must be registered as required by your local traffic laws.

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.

BSA Advancement ID#: 39
Source: Boy Scout Requirements, #33215, revised 2004
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Old 01-29-07, 04:14 PM   #2
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No,

I haven't done a 10 or 15 mile ride for 10 years.

Depending on what you count as a main highway there might not be any 50 mile rides near me that I would want to do.

How old are these scouts? 8 hours for a 50 mile ride seems a bit slow to me.
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Old 01-29-07, 04:16 PM   #3
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"... adjust the steering tube" ?
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Old 01-29-07, 04:49 PM   #4
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Yes I could earn a merit badge. Very easily in fact.

I was a cycling merit badge counselor a few years ago. I had to teach, using the cycling merit badge counselor hand book, the scouts how to do these things.

And guess what? I had to register with the Boy Scouts to be a counselor & so I was covered under their insurance. OMG I had to have some sort of certification before I could teach this stuff!
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Old 01-29-07, 05:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith99
Depending on what you count as a main highway there might not be any 50 mile rides near me that I would want to do.

How old are these scouts? 8 hours for a 50 mile ride seems a bit slow to me.
Scouts as young as 11 has participated and completed the 50 miler in under 8 hours, with no problem. Yes, it is slow, but the idea is to plan the rides so there are things to do along the way. It's a grind for an 11 year old to just cycle for 50 miles! They have to train for the 50, by doing two 10, two 15, and two 25 miles rides.

So we geocache, talk on the HAM radio, stop at parks, have lunch, and birdwatch to break the monotony.

We use the San Gabriel River Trail in Orange and Riverside counties for most of the rides. We use Old Temescal Canyon Road for our on-road rides.
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Old 01-29-07, 05:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eubi
Scouts as young as 11 has participated and completed the 50 miler in under 8 hours, with no problem. Yes, it is slow, but the idea is to plan the rides so there are things to do along the way. It's a grind for an 11 year old to just cycle for 50 miles! They have to train for the 50, by doing two 10, two 15, and two 25 miles rides.

So we geocache, talk on the HAM radio, stop at parks, have lunch, and birdwatch to break the monotony.

We use the San Gabriel River Trail in Orange and Riverside counties for most of the rides. We use Old Temescal Canyon Road for our on-road rides.
Makes a lot more sense now that you pointed out that those 8 hours includes breaks to do things. So more like a cycling nature hike.

Guess I'll always be a bit put off because of the old red cross lifesaving test. Passing was 440 yards in 18 minutes. A good high school competitive swimmer could do it in under 5. Seemed to me this was a dangerously lax standard. (Remember this was for someone who was going to be a lifeguard, someone who others would depend on).

Young as 11 makes a difference too. I'd also assume not all, possibly not most, of the bikes are built for speed.

I did like that it has some bike maintenence included. You might want to consider adding some emergency repair training/ testing also. Booting a tire and using a chain breaker to turn a bike with a broken derailer into a single speed comes to mind.

It has been a long time, but if I recall correctly there is a 78 mile loop that can be done on the San Gabriel and Los Angeles river bike paths. Some street riding at the beach, but not nasty streets. The paths then meet at whittier narrows if I remember correctly. With a pickup truck one could even chop off part of the inland end to cut it to 50 miles or have a good bail out planned. One advantage is that there at least used to be some interesting bird life in the last few miles before the beach.
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Old 01-29-07, 07:30 PM   #7
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Haha, the first word that jumps out is "hypothermia".

Good call.

But a 50-mile ride? That's harsh.

I seem to remember doing 16km, which was tough going on a BMX when I was a kid.
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Old 01-29-07, 07:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith99

I did like that it has some bike maintenence included. You might want to consider adding some emergency repair training/ testing also. Booting a tire and using a chain breaker to turn a bike with a broken derailer into a single speed comes to mind.
As luck would have it, I got a sidewall blowout 10 miles in to the 50. They all learned how to boot a tire with duct tape!

I will give the chain breaker tool a try. I have shown older Scouts how to use it, but it may be difficult for young guys. We'll see!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith99

IIt has been a long time, but if I recall correctly there is a 78 mile loop that can be done on the San Gabriel and Los Angeles river bike paths. Some street riding at the beach, but not nasty streets. The paths then meet at whittier narrows if I remember correctly. With a pickup truck one could even chop off part of the inland end to cut it to 50 miles or have a good bail out planned. One advantage is that there at least used to be some interesting bird life in the last few miles before the beach.
I did a lot of early morning training rides on the San Gabriel River path and also use it during my commute to work. Although I never had any problems, it's a very tough area south of Whittier Narrows. If I had the guys bike there, I would keep the group very close together!
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Old 01-29-07, 07:33 PM   #9
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I've already got mine. I'm surprised the requirements are pretty much the same as I remembered them.

I remember quite vividly my 50-mile ride. I had a Huffy Aerowind at the time (remember those?). It was a paved rural loop. I didn't realize just how many big dogs live in the country. I got chased by pretty much all of them. I recall (20+ years after the fact) having the valve stem blow as I was re-entering town. I was already past my 50 miles, so it wasn't a huge deal.

Last edited by cydisc; 01-29-07 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 01-29-07, 07:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
demonstrate an alternate left turn technique used during periods of heavy traffic

"Swerve across six lanes in two seconds, giving appropriate gestures with both hands."






I'm sorry, I just couldn't hold that in.
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Old 01-29-07, 08:12 PM   #11
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It would be interesting to find out what "main highways" means. That might limit me to laps around the industrial park. I could meet all of the requirements except one, my bicycle is not legal in California to ride after dark. Although I currently have the yellow pedal reflectors, they do not meet the Vehicle Code requirements. I have a recumbent.
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Old 01-29-07, 08:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghettocruiser
"Swerve across six lanes in two seconds, giving appropriate gestures with both hands."

I could give the appropriate gestures with just one finger.
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Old 01-29-07, 08:23 PM   #13
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I could not pass. I'm not a boy. And I like gay people.
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Old 01-29-07, 09:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
I could give the appropriate gestures with just one finger.
Only on a one-way street.

With two-way traffic, you would need one finger gesturing for each direction of motor vehicle travel.





Edit: Man, I would make a pretty bad boy scout these days.
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Old 01-29-07, 09:05 PM   #15
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I could if I registered my bike!
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Old 01-29-07, 09:31 PM   #16
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I earned that badge when i was a scout 25 years ago and I did all of the rides on my BMXer.
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Old 01-29-07, 10:24 PM   #17
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NOPE- I don't have a counselor, and no foot brakes on my iron horses either.

aside from those disqualifications, yes, definetly. YESTERDAY, on a long mountain bike ride, I gave a buddy a salt tablet from my first aid kit and a banana for the potassium when he started cramping up about 4 hours in. He's not in very good shape and had been sweating a lot during the day's climbs. I had a knife, compass, matches, duct tape, extra clothes, etc......in my bag-o-tricks as well.
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Old 01-29-07, 10:43 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
NOPE- I don't have a counselor, and no foot brakes on my iron horses either.

aside from those disqualifications, yes, definetly. YESTERDAY, on a long mountain bike ride, I gave a buddy a salt tablet from my first aid kit and a banana for the potassium when he started cramping up about 4 hours in. He's not in very good shape and had been sweating a lot during the day's climbs. I had a knife, compass, matches, duct tape, extra clothes, etc......in my bag-o-tricks as well
.
You certainly meet the qualification of "Be Prepared." What emergency gear do you carry when you're riding in the city? Were you ever a boy scout up there in the UP?
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Old 01-29-07, 10:56 PM   #19
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emergency gear for city riding? dog-n-driver spray, a 20 dollar bill, some extra blinky batteries, frame pump, bandana. whistle.

Boy scout, in the UP? yep.
Mountain Rescue team member out West, yep.
Winter Backcountry ski patrol volunteer, Mount Rainier Nat'l Park, check.

"BE PREPARED" is a caveat I learned while in scouts. Scouting is one of the best training grounds for young men to learn how to become a quality adult these days, in my opinion. and Explorer scout troops let in young women too.
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Old 01-29-07, 11:09 PM   #20
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Not with a fixed gear, unless you have brakes!
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Old 01-30-07, 02:13 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
emergency gear for city riding? dog-n-driver spray, a 20 dollar bill, some extra blinky batteries, frame pump, bandana. whistle.

In Utah, it's illegal to blow a whistle while riding a bike.
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Old 01-30-07, 03:49 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merit badge
Show proper curbside and road-edge riding
Except on busy highways, you should only rarely ride on the road edge. As long as the merit badge pamphlet doesn't encourage curb hugging on every street, it looks good.
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Old 01-30-07, 04:04 AM   #23
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I couldn't pass it until they do something realistic with requirements 6.e. and 8. Hugging the curb is dangerous, and I don't ride in circles.

Everything else is easy.
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Old 01-30-07, 07:15 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CommuterRun
I couldn't pass it until they do something realistic with requirements 6.e. and 8. Hugging the curb is dangerous, and I don't ride in circles.

Everything else is easy.
Not sure I understand. We learn the proper lane positioning depending on the conditions. I agree, hugging the curb is not proper technique, and we don't do it. In fact, we discuss the wording of CA law:

21202.
(a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations... (edited for brevity)


"Practicable"...I love that word! A license to steal!

We discuss CA law regarding bike lanes. I don't necessarily agree with the placement of all bike lanes, especially when they're in the door zone. but we have to start somewhere. That's where the rest of CA law 21201 comes in.

We cover the hazards of the "door zone" in requirement 6e.

Also, where did you get the idea we ride in circles? Out and back, loops, or point to point, yes. What other kinds of bike rides are there? Are you confusing the Requirement 8 with Dchiefransom's post #11?
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Old 01-30-07, 11:06 AM   #25
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I think the merit badge is great. Lots to quibble about, but the Boy Scouts get the spirit of cycling just right, IMO. Earning this merit badge would be challenging, and it sure sounds like fun, especially with somebody like eubi as a leader. If you show kids (or adults) how much fun cycling is, they'll figure out the "serious" aspects later*. Like walking, cycling is one of the few lifelong pursuits that are both fun and practical. That's why we should be teaching it to our kids.
* By serious, I mean the use of bikes for transportation, utility, fitness and athletic competition.
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