A mutual love of riding is what brought the members of KSU’s Cycling Club together, but their commitment to each other is what has allowed the club to grow immensely in recent years.
The KSU Cycling Club has grown from an emerging group of three cyclists in 2014 to an organization that is now 35 members strong. The group competes against other collegiate cycling clubs and varsity teams.
They participate under the governing body of the United States Cycling and most frequently race against clubs from the Southeastern U.S, including Auburn, Clemson and Furman.
The club is made up of fun-spirited individuals who come together to share their love of riding. Though it is now an inclusive group of many different skill levels, it hasn’t always been that way. Once just a road racing team, they have grown to be a diverse team of mountain bikers, road racers and cyclocross participating in multiple disciplines under the leadership of their current president, Clay Wilderman.
“We participate in just about every single event that involves a bike,” club officer Aaron Denning said. “There’s road races…criteriums…individual and team time trials.”
The members of the club are like family. Much of the club’s growth can be credited to its open environment, and having a bike is the only requirement to be on the team. With a mixture of novice riders and members that are actively competitive, the club hopes to one day develop a varsity team.
“We don’t just want racers on the team,” Wilderman said. “This is a full family type, all-encompassing ability level type of club. We have everything from cross-country mountain racing, dual-slalom events and downhill events”
Riders in the club don’t just cycle for the club or competitions. Some of the members have been cycling since they were young. The pure fun of the experience is a big part of their lives, and they don’t just do it here in Kennesaw.
“I grew up cycling with my dad,” rider Nicole Brasser said. “We would go camping and mountain biking everywhere.”
Although it’s clear that the riders take what they do seriously, competition does not stop them from enjoying the ride. In a sport where riding among a group of 50 or more riders is common, patience is a virtue. There are often strategic roles for certain riders to play in a group, and chances of victory are slim.
“Humility enables you,” club officer Autry Short said. “Anything you start at you’re not going to be good at. You just have to pedal past that.”
The cyclists said that riders of all levels are bound to make a mistake or two and that adversity is an inherent element of their sport. In the end, the best riders are determined by both skill and willpower.
Rio White contributed to this article.