The Oakland Cycling Club doesn’t fear ice or snow. The temperature changes, but they still ride for love of the sport – all year round.
The Cycling Club was only recently created at Oakland, so interested students are free to ride along and check things out. Participation varies week to week depending on who shows up to ride, but the club has a decent amount of interest. With 71 people signed up for the club’s email distribution list, there is definite interest in the club. However, of those 71, the club has 15 members on their actual roster, 4 of which are consistently active.
Club President, Christopher Holden, encourages people to come out for rides.
“We’ve had some trouble recruiting people. It’s one of those things where you get a lot of interest, but people don’t always show up. But we’re constantly going out on rides year round.”
As far as competitions, they don’t compete as a club, but members do compete individually in races and marathons. The club focuses more on teaching people to ride safely in groups, as well as basic fundamentals that are a part of cycling.
“We have a number of people in the club who are fairly new to the sport, so we want to make sure that we give them the avenues to explore these new disciplines like learning what to do to become a better cycler overall,” Holden said.
The club cycles local roads and trails like Paint Creek Trail and Macomb Orchard. Distances for group rides are not set in stone. On any given ride the club could cycle 10 to 15 miles. Holden likes to let the group dictate the ride. They accommodate for new members and tend to run shorter rides if you’re a newbie and aren’t in cycling shape just yet.
Joining the club could whip you into shape like it did for Holden – who lost over 100 pounds in eight months, thanks to cycling.
“I started gaining weight and had high blood pressure, and that’s ultimately what led me to cycling. I started riding and could barely do a mile, and then that same summer I ended up doing 100 miles in one day. So I just became enthralled with it,” Holden said.
He lost the weight two years ago and is now focusing on maintaining his current weight.
“It was really exciting to see that change. Happiness was a complete 180 before and after. So I’m very much an advocate of cycling for health because of the changes I’ve seen.”
In addition to Holden, club member Meaghan Moineau also loves the fitness improvement that comes with cycling. She’s improved her cycling distances and paces considerably since joining the club.
“It has become a main source of exercise for me,” Moineau said. “It’s something I do multiple times a week, in various locations and at multiple distances. I like that I can cycle just about anywhere, for however long I like, at whatever pace I feel like setting.”
“Cycling has definitely helped me physically. I am constantly setting pace and distance goals; meeting them and setting new ones. If you told me five years ago I would be able to ride at a pace of a sub 4-minute mile, I wouldn’t have believed it was possible. Being able to see the progress continues to motivate me to become a better cycler,” she added.
Holden and Moineau love the sport and love the club. Both are hopeful that more people will join in on rides and help to make the club grow.
“We’re eager for new members. They don’t have to dedicate 40 hours a week or anything. We’re interested in having people come out and join us for rides. Most rides are three or four people and it would be great to see that jump up to a dozen or so,” Holden said.
“Building the membership is our focus now. And if we can do that then we can start moving towards more stretch goals, like developing a competitive team.”
If you’re interested in joining, you can email Holden at firstname.lastname@example.org and show up for the ride-a-longs. Join and stick with it, and who knows, Oakland could have a collegiate cycling team in the future.
You can also check out the team’s Facebook page here.