The University of Alabama’s Cycling Club, Bama Cycling, offers members a chance to prepare for and participate in regional and national collegiate cycling competitions while supporting bicycling as a form of recreation, transportation and exercise within the community.
Jacob Black, president of Bama Cycling, said the club is a co-ed team that competes primarily in road races throughout the southeast from early February to May.
“When we’re not racing, we’re training in group rides and averaging between 20 and 80 miles,” Black said. “We’re a close knit group of people who look to push each other to reach our maximum potential for that season.”
For most members of the team, cycling is an escape, Black said.
“It gives you something other than papers and deadlines to look forward to throughout the year,” Black said.
Kristy Tippey, secretary of Bama Cycling, said cycling helps her relieve stress from everyday activities.
“If you are frustrated or something, [cycling] helps you think calmer and clearer,” Tippey said.
The cycling club started in 2007 and currently has over 10 members, Black said. There is no strict policy for joining the club, and although members mainly train and participate in races, it is not a requirement to race.
“We’re open to all interests of riders, whether it is for recreation or just something to do on the weekends and weekday afternoons,” Black said.
This year, the University implemented a new bicycle policy that requires students to register their bikes.
Sam Barr, treasurer of Bama Cycling, said the new bicycle policy is understandable but may be going down a path that he finds negative.
“All of the information I have read on the new policy says numerous times that registration is free and not mandatory ‘at this time,’” Barr said. “I feel like they’re opening the door to force bike registration and charge for it in the future. I ride my bike to save on gas, not get stuck in the crazy traffic and to avoid having to pay the transportation department for a parking pass.”
Barr said the University should add more bicycle racks around campus, rather than removing them.
“It’s very frustrating,” Barr said. “I feel the University should do all it can to promote, not discourage, cycling as a mode of transportation for students. It’s much faster than walking and far less pollutant than driving.”
Black said he is fortunate to be a part of the cycling club and is glad he joined in 2009.
“I hadn’t ever played any sports and was only vaguely interested in cycling after attending one of the leisurely Friday afternoon rides at the beginning of that semester,” Black said. “However, since then, I’ve competed in about 30 races and have grown to love the sport and the team I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of.”
Barr said that Bama Cycling is a group of people who share a common interest in riding bikes.
“We don’t care if you’re a seasoned pro or a newbie,” Barr said. “It doesn’t matter what kind of bike you have as long as you like to ride.”
Bama Cycling encourages anyone who is interested in joining to add his or her name to the mailing list at bamacycling.com/mailing-list.
“Even though we’re a small team, we love to see new faces and have the opportunity to show them that, with a little bit of sweat and dedication, they can get to a level they wouldn’t have imagined possible,” Black said.
For more information on Bama Cycling, visit their website at bamacycling.com.