About Appalachian Youth Cycling

Appalachian Youth Cycling, or AYC, has one primary purpose: get kids in the woods on bikes! The coaches and volunteers at AYC have grown to love the sport of mountain biking as a lifelong pursuit that can be enjoyed by riders of any age! Our goal is to introduce all our kids to the sport we love and to help them grow into skilled riders. Some will even become race winning athletes! We host practices, adventure rides, skills clinics and other events throughout the calendar year to work on skills and fitness. Our kids can then participate in various local, state and national race series, including NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association). This provides an exciting opportunity for kids to test themselves against their peers from all over. But what’s the most important thing? Kids in the woods having fun on bikes!

How much does it cost? Actually… wait for it… nothing! At this time, our volunteers and staff do this purely for the love of the sport and the joy of seeing young riders improve. In the spirit of AMBC, which has always been donation driven and volunteer based, we would encourage you to contribute to the larger effort of AMBC by joining as a full member or making a donation. Either of these will give back to the entire organization which provides us access to and maintenance of the AMAZING system of trails we get to use for our races and activities.

How do you get started? Show up to one of our events! Check the calendar below for our next event. We’d love to see you and your youth rider! But… also make sure to check out our minimum requirements.

Interested in helping out? Great! We are always looking for more help from qualified adults who love mountain biking and kids! Check out our volunteering section to find out more.

Want to donate a bike? Oh, yes please! There are lots of kids who would love to enjoy mountain biking but don’t have the means. If you have a bike laying around collecting dust that one of our kids might be able to put to use, let email us to let us know!


Our practices generally adhere to the following format: a short period of a few drills and exercises followed by a ride split up by experience level depending on attendance. We progressively work on skills and techniques ranging from bike-body separation, to braking, cornering and even racing technique. Your child will learn a lot, and become a better, safer and faster rider!

As with all AYC practices, we welcome any rider from any school. As with all of our rides, parents are welcome to ride with us the first time out but will need to complete a background check and Youth Protection Training to continue to ride with our kids. PLEASE consider volunteering! We definitely need the help to fill out our adult-to-child ratios.

Please see our minimum basic requirements before attending.

Rides/Race Schedule

We will have our updated list of MTB focused rides and practices led by our all volunteer staff of coaches on the Calendar below. These coaches are doing it for the love of the sport. They are trying to show every kid what they love about cycling. You should expect great local support and some regional exposure too. The good news is there is no team fee, just show up and ride.

  • Monthly

    Girls only Ride open to youth athletes, female parents, and female kids in Knoxville wanting to get into racing. Also a monthly “Adventure” ride open to all riders – something different from our regular rides & practices, maybe not even on bikes.
    More details on these soon.

    Race Notes: AYC will have a full pit setup at the NICA sponsored races only. There are other regional MTB races that AYC will NOT be set up for, but riders are still welcome to attend.

All races are optional – no AYC rider is required to participate in any race or race practice.

We will always have beginner groups and strive to make it extremely fun for the kids that don’t want to race. We just need to make sure not to forget about the racers as well. Athletes need goals, a group of peers to race against, and be provided with the tools they need to have a path forward. We have laid out what we think are great options for each athlete and youth club member.

Feel free to contact us at ayc-info@ambcknox.org if you have any questions or concerns.

Basic Requirements

Yes, you’re right, there are some minimum basic requirements…

  • Basic minimum fitness
  • A Real Mountain Bike in Good Condition
  • A Good Helmet
  • A Water Bottle or Hydration Pack
  • A signed liability waiver

Basic minimum fitness…

We welcome riders of all ages, BUT the basic minimum fitness requirement would be keeping up with our beginner level rider group. This translates to your child keeping up semi-comfortably on an easy paced ride of a minimum of about 4-5 miles (without too much complaining).

Fitness levels will definitely improve over the season! Our primary goal is for kids to learn to engage with riding and the associated fitness as a fun activity that they can enjoy for a lifetime. Participation in racing as a further engagement with the sport is encouraged, but not required.

The bike…

We want your child to safely enjoy the sport of mountain biking, and we are riding on real mountain bike trails, not just gravel roads or greenways! That means loose dirt, sometimes mud, rocks and roots, steep climbs and descents. To safely enjoy real mountain bike trails, a suitable bike will be in good working order and have the following characteristics:

  • At least 2 inch wide tires
  • Multiple gears that shift correctly
  • Straight wheels with no loose spokes
  • Disc brakes (not required, but HIGHLY recommended)
  • Front suspension fork (not required, but HIGHLY recommended)

While the above will not guarantee that your child will be safe and happy, proper equipment is an unavoidable and very big part of the sport of mountain biking. If for some reason you cannot provide a suitable bike, please speak to one of our staff. We would love to help you find something suitable.

The helmet…

Bumps scrapes and bruises are common in mountain biking. It’s a rough and tumble kind of sport. Falls happen on a regular basis just like in sports like skiing or snowboarding. A good helmet is THE most important piece of equipment you can provide your child.


We practice all year long. Even on really hot summer days like we have here in East Tennessee. It’s VERY important that your child consume sufficient water and stay hydrated while riding with us. They should show up to every ride with a FULL water bottle or hydration pack. Bottles should be suitable for a bicycle bottle cage and actually fit on the bike being ridden. Alternatively, a hydration pack should fit well with no interference to normal bicycle movements on the back or hips.

The waiver…

Yes, there’s a waiver. We will need to have your completed and signed waiver on file prior at your child’s first practice. This gives both parties the information needed to ensure everyone knows the risks, has the appropriate contact info and understands what is and is not covered under our insurance policy. If you would like to complete the waiver beforehand, you can either complete it electronically and email it to our staff, or print it out, complete and bring with you to practice.

Other (advisable, but not required) Stuff…

  • Bicycle gloves.
  • A snack, like a protein bar
  • An inner tube appropriate to tires on the bike being ridden
  • Cycling specific shoes. Either flat sole “skate” style shoes or MTB specific, or “clip-less” style
  • Cycling specific clothing. Athletic “wicking” materials. Shorts that do not droop.

Volunteering – Coaching

If you love bikes and the experience of mountain biking and wanna help us share that with kids of all ages and abilities, we would love to have you! We have 3 main requirements for every volunteer without exception:

  • Completed intake form
  • Complete the background check and Youth Protection Training through our NICA team – please contact us at ayc-info@ambcknox.org for an invitation
    • Any fees for these trainings (including all NICA coaching levels) will be reimbursed by AYC upon completion

The Intake Form…

We just need to collect some basic information about your interest and availability. Filling out our intake form will add your information to our database for reference.



Social Media Links


InstagramAYC (@appalachianyouthcycling) • Instagram photos and videos

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