Friendly rivalry drives cyclists to exceed limits

Nicki Tyska

Copy editor

With healthy  living trends on the rise,  students interested in various  forms of exercise  might want to  take a  look  into cycling,  which is  gaining popularity  at Linfield.

Cycling is no afternoon ride around the block. A bike ride can get up to speeds of 35 miles per hour and last anywhere from one to three hours.

Seniors Matt Atkinson and Jeff Roerig have become increasingly involved in cycling in the last year. Roerig started cycling four years ago when he began competing in triathlons. He fell in love with the sport. After meeting Atkinson, Roerig said he took the sport more seriously and enjoyed it more as well.

“It’s more fun with more people because you get to draft,” Roerig said.

He also said riders improve when they can race together.

Atkinson got his first taste of cycling about a year ago when he was able to try out his father’s road bike. After returning the bike, he decided to buy one of his own because he enjoyed cycling so much.

“It’s a time for me to do something for myself and escape all the requirements and expectations I place on myself,” he said.

Neither Atkinson nor Roerig have competed in registered cycling races, though both said they would like to in the near future. Atkinson said he would like to get into triathlons and race alongside Roerig as well.

“We have our rivalry,” Atkinson said. “We’ll run together and sometimes swim together. I’ll generally take him on the bike; he’s a lot stronger at the running, and we’re about even at swimming.”

Roerig admitted to not having the best bike on the market, but he still enjoys every minute. Road bikes needed for cycling can range from $500 used to more than $1,500 for a bike in good condition, he said.

“I ride a $500 bike, and I love it,” he said. “It may not be the fastest, but it gets me where I need to go. It’s really cool to pass people on a $10,000 bike when I’m riding a $500 bike.”

Cycling holds appeal for Roerig because of its benefits as a workout, he said. Riding is low impact, so it doesn’t hurt the joints as much, and a person can keep it up for hours at a time. He said the sights of McMinnville and Amity that one can see while riding are also bonuses.

“When you’re cruising at 20 miles per hour, you get to see a lot of country,” Roerig said. “One of my favorite things is climbing hills and bombing down (them). It’s intense, considering the only part of the bike touching the ground is maybe two inches of surface area.”

Atkinson enjoys the thrill of cycling as well as the sense of fulfillment he has at the end of the day after completing a two-hour ride, he said. Atkinson said the intense competition with him and Roerig is also what keeps him motivated as a cyclist.

“I don’t do leisure riding,” he said. “If you push it as hard as you can, at the end of the bike ride you’re going to feel amazing—it’s almost what people would consider a runner’s high. And it’s a healthy way to procrastinate.”

Atkinson and Roerig are not the only cyclists on campus.

The two are frequently joined on their rides by Associate Professor of English David Sumner and a friend of his.

Atkinson said he is trying to spread the word about cycling among students. Roerig said he and Atkinson are always looking for new people to ride with.

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