Problem: The governing body for bike racing in the US made a rule change that negatively impacts occasional amateur racers.
In order to participate in many cycling events, riders must purchase a license through USAC. In the past, riders of all but the elite levels could choose to purchase either a one-day license ($10) or an annual license ($60, or $90 if participating in both road and mountain disciplines. Either worked for cyclocross). In 2014, USAC changed the rules as follows:
- One-day licenses are now $15.
- One-day licenses are not available for anything but the beginner category.
- If you have EVER possessed an annual license, you cannot purchase a one-day license.
- An annual license now covers all disciplines, and costs $70.
Why this is problematic:
Let’s say I decide to have a baby. After giving birth, I probably won’t want to race a full calendar of races, not nearly enough to justify a $70 license to do a race or two. But I can imagine it would feel really good to get back out there for my favorite race of the season. However, because I have held an annual license for the last 4 years, I would be ineligible to participate.
I can think of many examples, but I’ll leave it at one. I’d like to hear what others think, too.
Context: I’m studying civic engagement, democratic participation, and effecting change in the face of decisions made that negatively impact the less powerful.
Action: This is where I need help. I’ve seen some pushback on Twitter and a few blogs, but that’s not effecting change…yet. How can we work together to point out the negative consequences and hopefully find a solution/policy change?
If you are upset about this change, let’s work together instead of complaining in isolation, let action win over cynicism.
Here’s my comment ANYTHING that limits participation should be reconsidered. I draw a comparison with triathlon since they seem to be GROWING. Their one day license is $12 AND they can apply that to a annual license. THAT seems fair to me. I didn’t realize that if you EVER had a annual license that you were required to have one to race forever. Which is why I don’t think you hear a lot about it on the social sites because I don’t think it well known! I do think that requirement is counterproductive to growing cycling. However, I DO like the fact that they combined all the cycling disciplines as MY annual fee is lower this year.
There are many positives to USAC but even being a loyalist I am having hard time supporting many of the mandates that are coming down.
Unfortunately, the only way I see to affect change is to stop using USAC. The downside to that is coming up with insurance to cover the event promoter and participants. Once that solution presents itself, I see no reason to stick with USAC.
My comment is that in order to make an effective argument against such regulations, you might want to consider a numbers based approach. Naturally, in order for cycling to continue to thrive in the United States, there needs to be sustained or growing participation. A mandate such as this could certainly effect numbers.
In the UK, the only way to race in anything other than a Go Race (an unlicensed, unranked race), you must have year long license for each discipline you want to participate in (there are some formalities I am glossing over). This has kept me from racing. My schedule is too crazy to risk having an unused license. I think it may be part of the reason that there are fewer female bike racers in the UK in general. Let me back this up with some numbers. In the summer cx series, there were around 60 men and 3 women in each race. In 2013 ultra London duathlon there were 80 men and 6 women. Running is a big sport for women in the UK and running races tend to be 50/50, so I would argue that this is disparity is coming from the sheer lack of female competitive cyclists.
Perhaps analyzing race participation by country and license requirements might be a useful method of getting a good counter argument.
@Jon, there are many insurance providers. Jim Craig promotes many well attended adventure races and I spoke with him about insurance a couple of years back. It’s not expensive and gives you total control over your event.
Personally, I don’t think the cost of a license at $70 is that prohibitive until it is combined with the $35-40 entry fee. Then, the four races (to justify the license) actually becomes $50-55 per race, which is pricey if one is trying it out or easing back into the sport. It’s also too pricey if your field consists of the same 3-15 people you ride with all the time anyway.
@Emily, analyzing race participation by country and license requirement may be interesting, but it would need to be both men’s and women’s because the shortage of women has little to do with cost of the license. Take a look at triathlon or even running for comparison.
@Lis, locally, I think we should do non-usac cyclocross. Seriously, non-usac insurance can be purchased at comparable rates and spread over multiple events.
OK, back to work.
I agree with the ideas of moving away from doing usac events and having more grassroots events with a different type of insurance. If that is sucessful locally, then other towns and cities can be encouraged to do more of these types of races. This may pull some individuals away from USAC races, which can be an effective