Do I Need a USA Cycling Racing License?

If you're thinking about tinkering with bike racing, surely you're aware of the USA Cycling licenses for racers.

But the question is, do you need one?

The answer is yes, if you're planning on entering any USA Cycling-sanctioned races. The official governing body of cycling in the United States sanctions more than 3,000 events across the country, including road races, track races, mountain biking and BMX. To compete in any of these races requires that you show a USA Cycling license at the event.

More: How Do the USA Cycling Race Categories Work?

Buying a License

USA Cycling offers two ways to purchase a license:

  • An annual license can be purchased ($60 for adults, $30 for junior or collegiate) which is good until December 31st of the year you purchased it.
  • A one-day license for the particular race you're entering. One-day licenses are $10 each (or $5 for non-competitive).

More: 5 Tips to Faster Race Finishes

Annual or One-Day?

Obviously, the math can help you answer the question. If you're an adult but only plan on entering 2-3 races this year, you might be better off buying 2-3 one-day licenses and saving money.

However, there are other benefits to an annual license, including:

  • Insurance coverage if you are injured while at a USA Cycling event.
  • National results and rankings
  • Partner discounts
  • Access to USA Cycling's athlete development programs.

Some races, like the Pineapple Road Race in Hawaii, for example, allow riders with annual and one-day licenses to compete. But only those holding an annual license are eligible for prizes given to the top three finishers.

More: Does Competition Improve Performance?

Where to Buy

The quickest way, like many things, is online. USACycling.org has an online membership system where you can purchase a license, make corrections, request upgrades and more.

You can also download a form, print and fill it out, and mail your application in with the $60 payment.

If you're only going for a one-day race license, those can be purchased on-site at the race you're entering.

More: Q&A With USA Cycling's Jim Miller

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