The Cycling Merit Badge: Your Ultimate Guide in 2021


Cycling Merit Badge

Why earn the Cycling merit badge? Well, it’s no secret that scouts care about the environment and learn thrifty habits. What better way to practice these values than by biking instead of driving! Not only will cycling help you to lower your carbon footprint and save big $$$ on gas — it’ll also keep you healthy and teach you a valuable skill. 🙂

The Cycling merit badge isn’t just about biking long distances with practiced skills. To earn this Eagle-required badge, you’ll also need to learn how a bike works, demonstrate proper bicycle maintenance, remember the laws of traffic, and follow the necessary safety measures to have a safe and enjoyable bike ride. 

When I was growing up in Hawaii, I used to bike pretty often and I loved it! Since it’s a pretty crowded state though (at least on Oahu), I chose to earn the Hiking and Swimming merit badges instead. Nowadays, I wish I had toughed it out and earned Cycling too. Hopefully, you live somewhere where it’s a bit easier to bike around so that you can earn this interesting badge!

If you have any other Eagle-required merit badges to earn, you also should check out my Difficulty Ranking Guide to Every Eagle-required Badge. There, you’ll also find the links to my other merit badge guides, as well as a description and summary of each badge’s requirements. I’m certain this resource will be helpful to scouts on their road to Eagle!

Also, remember that ScoutSmarts should just serve as your starting point for merit badge research. In school, we’re taught not to plagiarize, and the same is true for Scouting worksheets. Answer these questions in your own words, do further research, and I promise you’ll gain much more from every merit badge you earn!

Just a small warning beforehand: unless you’re already a bicycling pro, this badge is gonna be tricky. Cycling is about as physically intensive as the Hiking merit badge, but it has a lot more knowledge requirements. In fact, I rated Cycling as one of the most difficult Eagle-required badges in my difficulty rankings.

Are you up for the challenge?……………………….. Awesome, I knew you would be! First, take a few minutes to thoroughly read through each of the requirements of the Cycling merit badge. Then, it’ll be time to get rollin’! 😉

What Are The Cycling Merit Badge Requirements?

  1. Do the following:
    1a. Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while participating in cycling activities and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards.
    1b. Show that you know first aid for injuries or illnesses that could occur while cycling, including cuts, scratches, blisters, sunburn, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, hypothermia, dehydration, insect stings, tick bites, and snakebite. Explain to your counselor why you should be able to identify the poisonous plants and poisonous animals that are found in your area.
    1c. Explain the importance of wearing a properly sized and fitted helmet while cycling, and of wearing the right clothing for the weather. Know the BSA Bike Safety Guidelines.
  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:
    3a. Show all points that need oiling regularly.
    3b. Show points that should be checked regularly to make sure the bicycle is safe to ride.
    3c. 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 by removing the tire, replacing or patching the tube, and remounting the tire.
  6. Describe your state’s traffic laws for bicycles. Compare them with motor-vehicle laws. Know the bicycle-safety guidelines.
  7. Using the BSA buddy system, complete all of the requirements for ONE of the following options: road biking OR mountain biking.
    • Option 1: Road Biking
      • Take a road test with your counselor and demonstrate the following:
        7a I. Properly mount, pedal, and brake, including emergency stops.
        7a II. 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.
        7a III. Properly execute a right turn.
        7a IV. Demonstrate appropriate actions at a right-turn-only lane when you are continuing straight.
        7a V. Show proper curbside and road-edge riding. Show how to ride safely along a row of parked cars.
        7a VI. Cross railroad tracks properly.
      • 7b. 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 for the routes traveled, and interesting things seen.
      • 7c. After completing requirement b for the road biking option, do ONE of the following:
        7c Option 1. Lay out on a road map a 50-mile trip. Stay away from main highways. Using your map, make this ride in eight hours.
        7c option 2. Participate in an organized bike tour of at least 50 miles. Make this ride in eight hours. Afterward, use the tour’s cue sheet to make a map of the ride.
    • Option 2: Mountain Biking
      • Take a trail ride with your counselor and demonstrate the following:
        7a I. Properly mount, pedal, and brake, including emergency stops.
        7a II. Show shifting skills as applicable to climbs and obstacles.
        7a III. Show proper trail etiquette to hikers and other cyclists, including when to yield the right-of-way.
        7a IV. Show proper technique for riding up and down hills.
        7a V. Demonstrate how to correctly cross an obstacle by either going over the obstacle on your bike or dismounting your bike and crossing over or around the obstacle.
        7a VI. Cross rocks, gravel, and roots properly.
      • 7b. Describe the rules of trail riding, including how to know when a trail is unsuitable for riding.
      • 7c. On trails approved by your counselor, take two rides of 2 miles each, two rides of 5 miles each, and two rides of 8 miles each. You must make a report of the rides taken. List dates for the routes traveled, and interesting things seen.
      • 7d. After fulfilling the previous requirement, lay out on a trail map a 22-mile trip. You may include multiple trail systems, if needed. Stay away from main highways. Using your map, make this ride in six hours.
1a) Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while participating in cycling activities and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards.

With so many cars and trucks on the road, you’ll need to keep an eye out for possible dangers to stay safe. By preparing a plan beforehand to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these risks, you won’t need to worry as much if any of the following situations actually occur. Below are the most common hazards that cyclists should be aware of at all times:

Surroundings-related Cycling Hazards

  • Sudden stops by vehicles or pedestrians
  • Vehicle doors being opened while a cyclist is passing by
  • Potholes and other poor road conditions
  • Distracted drivers using their cell phones
  • Train and narrow bridge crossings
  • Busy roads, highways, and intersections
  • Rain and poor weather leading to reduced visibility
  • Strong winds while cycling on crowded roads

Human Error Cycling Hazards

  • Miscommunication while using hand signals
  • Riding on the wrong side of the road
  • Human error: Losing control of the bicycle
  • Not wearing protective clothing like a helmet and pads
  • Not wearing reflective equipment while cycling at night
  • Not leaving enough room between yourself and the next vehicle.
  • Allowing yourself to become too tired while cycling in high-traffic areas

Now that you’re clear on the most common hazards you can encounter while cycling, here are some great ways you can anticipate, prevent, mitigate, and respond to these dangers. 

Anticipating Cycling Hazards

  • Be aware of both human and surroundings-related hazards.
  • Keep a cell phone on you at all times.
  • Tell someone where you’ll be cycling and when you expect to return.
  • When crossing a busy intersection, stop, look, and listen.
  • Be cautious near railroad tracks.  It takes a train approximately ¼ mile to stop. Do not try to beat a train! You will lose. 
  • Look in every direction when riding in a busy parking lot. People may not be paying enough attention.
  • Maintain a safe distance between the other vehicles. Vehicles have to stop all the time, unexpectedly.
  • Learn to sit correctly on your bike, especially when going out for long rides.
  • Ride your bike defensively. Assume the drivers around you are all half-blind 90-year-olds (because some are). 😛

Preventing Cycling Hazards

  • Stay on the correct side of the road (in the same direction as the cars).
  • Bike slowly. You should always be able to comfortably stop in a controlled manner.
  • Use proper hand signals to notify motorists of your intentions. Do not dart out suddenly into traffic. 
  • Stay off the phone! No headphones, texting, or talking while you’re cycling. If you need to use the phone, pull over.
  • Do not ride along rows of parked cars. Someone abruptly getting out could cause you to crash into their door. 
  • Stay off of railroad tracks. Not only is it extremely dangerous to ride on the railroad tracks, but it is also illegal.    
  • Keep a proper cycling posture to avoid injuring your back.
  • Leave enough room between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. Keep at least 3 seconds of distance between you.

Mitigating Cycling Hazards

  • Always wear a helmet!
  • Use proper lights and reflectors, especially when biking at night.
  • Keep your bicycle properly maintained so that you can have a safe ride with no equipment malfunctions.  
  • Wear long-sleeved clothing and durable pants. This will help protect from scrapes in the event of an accident.
  • Drive slowly over difficult areas. Keep your eyes on the road.
  • Watch for unsafe drivers, and keep a greater distance from them on the road.
  • Avoid braking quickly. This could lock up your bike, making the crash even worse.
  • Follow local laws so that if a crash does occur, you won’t be at fault. Bicycles are subject to the same rules of the road as cars.

Responding To Cycling Hazards

  • In the event of a crash, get off the road and out of harm’s way ASAP.
  • Know proper first aid and have completed the First Aid merit badge (link is to my guide!)
  • Always check for head and spine injuries in the event of an accident. If there’s swelling, keep the injury still and call 911 for an ambulance.
  • If you have a bad bike crash with another driver or pedestrian, call 911 to file an official report.
  • Take photos of the scene, if possible.
  • Obtain contact info of witnesses.
  • Keep your bike in the same condition if you do call the police (it can be used as evidence).
  • Have reliable insurance to be prepared in the event of an accident.

Also, be sure to follow Federal and State traffic laws (More on this in Requirement 2!) as those laws are in place for your protection. If you are unsure of the laws, you can contact your local law enforcement office or DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) for more information. 

1b) Show that you know first aid for injuries or illnesses that could occur while cycling, including cuts, scratches, blisters, sunburn, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, hypothermia, dehydration, insect stings, tick bites, and snakebite. Explain to your counselor why you should be able to identify the poisonous plants and poisonous animals that are found in your area.

Especially for longer bike rides, always try to pack first aid supplies to treat small injuries on the go. I’d recommend getting the Monoki Survival First Aid Kit (Amazon referral link), as it comes with some tools that are also useful for emergency situations while camping or hiking. Now, let’s go over the first aid methods for a few common injuries!

Cuts:

While cycling, it’s possible to get cut in a few different ways. You could pass too closely to a piece of metal and slash yourself, or you might nick your hand while making some bike repairs. If you ever find yourself injured while cycling, always get off the road and to a safe spot before treating your wounds!

In the case of a minor cut, you might not need to cancel your cycling plans. You should, however, sterilize the wound with an antiseptic wipe and apply an antibiotic jelly. Then, cover the entire cut opening with a bandage and durable gauze (so the dressing doesn’t fall off).

Larger cuts present the risk of excessive blood loss and infection, so they should be treated with more care. If possible, quickly clean your hands or put on gloves before treating any wound, as the germs on your hands could cause infections. Below are the steps for treating a large cut or gash wound:

  1. Clean the wound: If possible, remove any dirt or debris from the wound to prevent infection. Do not pull out anything embedded in the wound as this could cause much more bleeding. (Skip this step if the bleeding is very severe)
  2. Apply steady pressure to the wound: Using a sterile cloth or bandage, press into the wound with a steady pressure to stop the bleeding. 
  3. Immobilize the wound: If blood soaks through the compress, do not remove it. Place another bandage over the first, and continue applying pressure. Eventually, the blood should clot and the bleeding should slow.
  4. Elevate the wound: By raising the wound above the level of the heart, gravity helps to halt the blood flow. Lay the victim down and have them raise the wound as high as possible. 
  5. Assist the victim until help arrives: Once their wound has been treated, your task is to keep the victim as comfortable as possible until emergency medical personnel arrive. Ensure that they are not too hot or too cold, and talk to them to keep them calm.\
  6. If you’ve been cut deeply, especially by a rusty piece of metal, you should go to the doctor for a tetanus booster shot within 48 hours. (In some cases)

If someone is severely bleeding, skip to step 2 and immediately apply pressure to the wound. Once the blood seeps through the first bandage, place another bandage over it and continue to apply pressure. Your goal should be to have the wound clot to the bandage. This will minimize blood loss and provide the victim with the best chance at survival.

Scratches:

The first aid method for scratches is very similar to the way you’d treat minor cuts. However, scratches don’t bleed as much, so if you’re cycling near your home you could opt to treat the wound upon returning if you’d prefer.

To treat a scratch, gently rinse the wound with soap and water. Try to remove as much debris as possible. Then, dry the area and apply an antibiotic ointment. Cover the scratch with a bandage and replace the bandage every 1 or 2 days (scratches tend to seep more than cuts). If you’ve been scratched by an animal that seems rabid, go to a doctor ASAP.

Blisters:

Blisters typically come from the friction of material rubbing against the skin, which can be caused by poor-fitting shoes or other clothing. Biking in wet clothing can also cause blisters. Blisters appear as bubbles under the top layer of skin. They are often filled with pus, water, or even blood, and could be quite painful.

If you find you’re developing a blister, or notice an area that is rubbing uncomfortably, apply a moleskin (Amazon referral link) to the irritated patch of skin. This also helps for when you get those painful rashes from your thighs rubbing — putting a moleskin on either side will solve the issue! Blisters are naturally reabsorbed by the body, so by preventing rubbing, the blister will heal and go away on its own.

Avoid popping blisters unless they’re so large that you can’t get around otherwise. You can puncture a blister with a sterile needle. Popped blisters risk infection, so thoroughly disinfect and bandage the area immediately afterward. Remove the bandage at night to let the popped blister dry.

Sunburn:

Sunburns are caused by prolonged sun exposure. The affected areas will become sensitive to touch, appear red, and may blister. To avoid sunburns, always apply sunscreen SPF 30 or higher when outdoors, and try to avoid being in direct sunlight for extended periods of time. Wearing a hat and protective clothing will also reduce your likelihood of sunburn.

Try to avoid getting sunburnt, as repeated heavy burns raise your likelihood of getting skin conditions later in life. To treat a sunburn, you can cool the skin with a damp towel or apply a soothing aloe vera lotion. If you’re sunburnt, remember to keep hydrated and refrain from picking at the burn, should it begin to peel. Sunburns should take no longer than 2 weeks to heal.

Heat Exhaustion:

While cycling, here are two main types of heat exhaustion that you should be aware of.

  • Water depletion: Characterized by thirst, headache, a feeling of weakness, and loss of consciousness.
  • Sodium depletion: characterized by vomiting, muscle cramps, and dizziness.

Heat exhaustion can progress into heat stroke, and should not be taken lightly. If you begin to feel unsteady, overly-warm, and weak, you’re likely suffering from heat exhaustion. In this case. Immediately pull off into a cool area to rest.

After you’ve had enough time to fully recover by drinking fluids and eating something like a granola bar, slowly return home and take a cool shower. If you’ve experienced heat exhaustion, take it easy for a while. You’ll likely be sensitive to high temperatures for a few days afterward.

Heatstroke:

Heatstroke is caused when one’s body temperature exceeds 104°F. If untreated, heatstroke can lead to seizures, confusion, loss of consciousness and even a coma. Common symptoms of a heat stroke are throbbing headaches, dizziness, a lack of sweating despite warm weather, or a feeling of weakness. 

If you suspect someone of having heatstroke, immediately call 911. Sit them down in a cool, shady area, and try to lower their body temperature. To prevent heat exhaustion and heatstroke, stay hydrated, wear sun protection, and refrain from strenuous activity during the warmest times of the day.

Hypothermia:

Hypothermia is caused by one’s core body temperature falling below 95°F. While symptoms of mild hypothermia include shivering and confusion, in more dangerous cases the victim will not have enough energy to continue shivering and may fall unconscious.

If you begin to shiver uncontrollably while cycling, immediately stop and warm yourself, or return home if it’s close by. If your home is far away, don’t hesitate to stop at a store to allow yourself to warm up a bit. When treating someone with hypothermia, do not suddenly re-warm them by placing them in a hot shower, as this could lead to rewarming shock.

Dehydration:

Dehydration occurs when your body does not have enough water. Some symptoms of dehydration include a flushed face, a lack of sweat, or a feeling of weakness. This is a potentially fatal condition that can result in lowered blood pressure, dizziness, and fainting. To treat dehydration, allow yourself to rest while replenishing your body with water and electrolytes. Don’t chug, slowly rehydrate to avoiding diluting your blood.

When cycling, water will likely be harder to come by, and you may not be able to hydrate as often. Therefore, you’ll need to focus extra hard on drinking enough water. Experts recommend you drink at least 1 liter of water every 2 hours to avoid dehydration. That means constant, easy hydration is key! To easily carry your water, you should check out my #1 water bladder recommendation here.

Insect Stings:

In most cases, insect stings are not dangerous and only result in minor swelling and itching. If you get stung, remove any stingers left in the area. To treat a sting, wash with soap and water, then apply a cold compress. Taking an antihistamine should also reduce itching.

In individuals with allergies, certain insect stings can result in a fatal reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylactic reactions cause immediate and severe swelling in the neck and face, as well as difficulty breathing, and can prove fatal if left untreated.

Most people with severe allergies carry an EpiPen. When used by removing the safety cap and pressing the needle into the victim’s thigh, an EpiPen can counteract an anaphylactic reaction. However, the effect of an EpiPen is temporary and the person must still quickly receive medical attention.

Tick Bites:

Ticks can be commonly found in fields or forests, and are small parasites that burrow into your skin. If you find a tick on your body, remove it as quickly as possible. When cycling, ticks can be picked up while walking through tall grass or when resting in a field while mountain biking.

If you notice a tick has latched on to you, using a pair of fine-tipped tweezers grasp the tick as close to your skin’s surface as possible. Then, gently pull the tick straight out. Be sure not to twist the tweezers to avoid having parts of the tick break off under your skin.

Gently wash the affected area with warm water and soap, applying alcohol to the wound to prevent infection. Save the tick in a container of rubbing alcohol. Several weeks following removal, if you develop a rash or fever, immediately visit a doctor and show them the tick that you saved.

Snakebites:

Luckily, only about 20% of snakes are venomous.  However, if you’re bitten by a snake, you should immediately call 911 and describe the situation and snake. If there is burning pain at the site of the wound, call an ambulance ASAP. Most emergency rooms and ambulances have anti-venom drugs, which could prove life-saving. 

Keep the bite below the level of your heart and try to remain calm. If possible, try to identify the shape of the snake’s head. Venomous snakes typically have triangular heads and slit-like eyes. To avoid being bitten by a snake, watch your step in tall grass, keep your tent closed with your belongings secured, and never provoke the wildlife.

1c) Explain the importance of wearing a properly sized and fitted helmet while cycling, and of wearing the right clothing for the weather. Know the BSA Bike Safety Guidelines.

Wearing a helmet is the number one rule for safely riding a bicycle. It’s important to have the proper size and fit when selecting a helmet, for the following reasons:

  • Studies have shown that wearing a properly fitted helmet will reduce one’s risks of head and brain injury from crashes by around 85%.
  • Roughly 800 people are killed each year, and 500,000 people are injured or require a hospital visit due to bicycle-related accidents. 
  • 2/3 of reported bicycle injuries are head-related.  
  • Wearing a helmet also helps protect you from weather-caused dangers, such as the sun’s UV rays, rain, or hail.

Speaking of helmets protecting cyclists from weather-related dangers, wearing the proper clothes for each type of outdoor condition is also very important. By choosing clothing that’s properly fitted, ventilated, and insulated, you’ll avoid overheating and lessen your risks of injury!

Another important consideration is to choose proper eyewear. By purchasing effective sunglasses, not only will your eyes be protected from flying rocks and other debris, you’ll also be able to bike in overly-bright conditions more effectively. Choosing the right protective equipment is just one part of safe cycling. Now, it’s time to read the official BSA bike safety guidelines below.

BSA Bike Safety Guidelines:

  1. Sweet 16 of BSA Safety. As with all Scouting activities, the sweet 16 safety principles should be applied in your cycling event.
  2. Wear a properly fitted helmet. Protect your brain; save your life! Bicycle helmets can reduce head injuries by 85 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
  3. Adjust your bicycle to fit. Make sure you can stand over the top tube of your bicycle.
  4. Assure bicycle readiness. Make sure all parts are secure and working well. Assure that tires are fully inflated and brakes are working properly.
  5. See and be seen. Wear clothing that makes you more visible, such as bright neon or fluorescent colors. Wear reflective clothing or tape. Avoid riding at night.
  6. Watch for and avoid road hazards. Stay alert at all times. Be on the lookout for hazards, such as potholes, broken glass, gravel, puddles, leaves, animals, or anything that could cause you to crash. If you are riding with friends and you are in the lead, call out and point to the hazard to alert the riders behind you.
  7. Follow the rules of the road. Check and obey all local traffic laws. Always ride on the right side of the road in the same direction as other vehicles. Go with the flow—not against it! Yield to traffic and watch for parked cars.

There you have it! By remembering and following these 7 points of bike safety, you’ll avoid many common road hazards and lessen your risks of injury. Also, one of the most important things to keep in mind (not listed here) is to bike within your limits. Unless you’re in a safe, controlled, and supervised environment, don’t practice any risky maneuvers.

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

Adjusting Your Bicycle

Let’s begin by going over how to perfectly adjust a bicycle to fit your body. You probably already know that your knee should be slightly bent when seated on your bicycle with your pedal at the lowest point. However, there are a ton of other ways to improve your positioning! Watch the video (3:29) for a thorough overview of how to properly adjust your bike.

While I don’t know which setup will be best for you, I’d encourage you to pay close attention to how your body feels after a bike ride. Are there any areas of soreness? This may be a sign that something should be adjusted. Experiment, and I’m sure you’ll find the right positioning! If all else fails, I’d recommend going to your local bike shop and asking for help.

Cleaning Your Bicycle

If you already own a set of car cleaning supplies, you’ll probably have most of what it takes to clean your bicycle! It’s important to clean your bike often (after every 20-25 rides or so), as riding on a dirty bike can cause it to fall apart more quickly. On the other hand, a properly maintained bike can last you for years, and save you quite a bit of money!

When cleaning your bike, pay careful attention to your drivetrain, chain, and spokes. These areas are especially important, as they’ll cause more wear-and-tear on your bike if not properly cleaned. Here are the general supplies you’ll need to properly clean your bike:

  • A brush or sponge
  • Some Dry Towels
  • A Degreaser
  • A Bucket (or Hose)
  • Bike Cleaner
  • Chain Lube
  • A Long-bristled Brush

Now that you know the tools you’ll be using, watch the video (7:16) below for a full walkthrough on how to perform a regular bike cleaning.

Hopefully, you now have the skills to clean your own bike! When cleaning your bike, you’ll need some way to degrease and clean your chains. The easiest way to do this is with the Park Tool Cleaning System that the gentleman in the video was using (Amazon link). Afterward, you should also apply a lubricant to your bike chain.

Make sure you properly lubricate your chains after clearing the dirt and grease from your drivetrain. Your choice of lubricant will depend on the climate you tend to bike in. I’d recommend the Finish Line chain lube, especially if you tend to bike in dryer, non-rainy conditions.

Preparing Your Bicycle For Inspection

Before hitting the road on a cycling adventure, it’s always a good idea to check your bicycle to make sure everything is functioning properly. To complete a full bicycle safety inspection, you’ll need to look over 5 primary areas of your bike.

  1. Your Frame/Fit
  2. Your Wheels and Air Pressure
  3. Your Brakes
  4. Your Crank and Chain
  5. Quick Releases/Positioning

There’s a lot of things you’ll need to check if you plan to hold a full inspection, and we’re running out of space in this guide, haha. However, I’d recommend using this printable bike safety checklist when fully examining your bike. The checklist even points out the key issues on a bike that you’ll need to make sure are taken care of (for your own safety)!

Making Sure Your Bicycle Meets Local Laws

It’s crucial that you follow local laws while cycling, or you could receive a citation from a police officer. You might even need to pay a fine! That’s why you should take the time to familiarize yourself with your local laws around cycling, right now!

A common law in most areas is that minors must wear a helmet while cycling. However, I’m not an expert on the laws of your area (obviously 😛 ). Luckily, here’s a website that’ll show you the official bike laws for each state! Simply click on your state name, and all associated laws will pop up.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, in many places, bicyclists cannot ride on sidewalks where there are pedestrians walking by. Just be careful to give cars, bikers, and other people ample space, follow the cycling regulations posted on signs, and you’ll likely be following all of your local laws!

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

Now that you’ve cleaned and adjusted your bike, you’re ready to present it to your counselor for an inspection! Before you do that though, there are a few topics that we should briefly recap. During the inspection, your counselor will most likely ask you to demonstrate your knowledge of each of the questions listed in requirement 3. Let’s start with 3a!

3a) Show all points that need oiling regularly.

If you cycle regularly, you should lubricate your bike at least once a month, or after every few hundred miles. Using the Finish Line chain lube that I recommended earlier, or another lubricant you might already own, there are five points you should regularly oil on your bicycle:  

  • Pedals (where the pedal meets the crank arm)
  • Brake assemblies (mounted on the frame at the front and back wheel)
  • Brake and Shifter levers (on handlebars)
  • Derailleur assemblies (the part that moves the chain between gears)
  • Chain (clean and oil regularly, especially if you ride in dirty conditions)

To correctly oil a chain, slowly place drops along its length, making sure each link is well-coated. Then, use a dry towel to wipe away any excess oil (this stops dirt from building up as quickly).

When oiling the other areas, simply apply a few drops to the pivot points. then shift them around a bit until they can move smoothly. Wipe off any excess lubricant afterward. From personal experience, I’d advise you not to add too much oil right away. You can always add more lubricant, but applying too much from the start is wasteful and can gunk up your parts.

Congrats on Finishing Part 1 of the Cycling Merit Badge!

Wow, we just made it halfway through this entire badge and now my computer is starting to lag because this page is so long! Great work 🙂 . You definitely deserve a break at this point; give yourself a huge pat on the back!

Once you’re ready to continue on to part 2 of the Cycling merit badge (Requirements 3b-7)
Click here!
(in progress, sign up to my newsletter for updates!)

Also, if you’re interested in the difficulty rankings for every Eagle-required merit badge, you can check out my full guide here. PS: The article also links to my ultimate badge guides that’ll help you to answer your merit badge worksheets!

Cole

I'm constantly writing new content because I believe in Scouts like you! Thanks so much for reading, and for making this world a better place. Until next time, I'm wishing you all the best on your journey to Eagle and beyond!

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