They Want to Ride Their Bicycle, They Want To Ride It Where They LikePosted: April 14, 2011
Bike Life, 890
Buses. Cars. Mopeds. These are all things students use to get around town.
For some, however, their choice of transportation is a little slower, a little lighter and a lot more fuel efficient.
They ride a bike.
On UGA campus there are numerous bike racks at various locations. This is one of the reasons many students are foregoing motorized transportation and sticking to the pedal and chain.
Athens is a city with a growing and thriving bike culture.
“There are organized rides every day of the week, there is the Winter Bike League, there is a few teams and a few pros live here,” said Clark Hurst a senior at the university. “There are always people to ride with, or just to talk to about biking.”
This town even offers something for those who just love to watch bike racing.
“I mean, this town has Twilight,” said David Torcivia a junior at the university. “How many towns have something like that?”
What he is referring to is the annual Twilight bicycle race held in downtown Athens.
For two days downtown Athens becomes a festival ground celebrating all things bicycles.
The focus of the festival is a series of multi-class races that circle downtown Athens.
This year’s race will be held on April 29-30.
In this city non-bicycle related business get involved in the sport.
Local brewery Terrapin Beer co-sponsors a team with local bicycle shop, The Hub.
Those who bike as a ways to commute find that it has benefits in this city.
“I don’t have to pay for parking, ever,” said Torcivia.
Torcivia, who has been commuting on a bike since his freshman year, does own a car; however, it is rarely in use.
“I never drive my car to class. If it’s a nice day and my destination is reasonable then I will always choose my bike,” Torcivia said. “Actually, I even ride my bike when it rains.”
For some students, a reasonable distance is a relative thing.
“I ride my bike back to my home town of Dacula,” Hurst said.
Dacula is approximately a one hour drive from Athens.
His trek home isn’t the only long distance Hurst travels on a bike.
On a hot day in Athens, Hurst arrives home on his road bike.
As he walked to the door sweat poured off his blonde hair and left a trail behind him.
He tells his roommates he has been running errands all over the city.
Hurst then switches out his road bike for his racing bike to go on a practice ride.
Hurst may be able to go longer distances on a bike then most. This is due to the fact that for Hurst bike riding isn’t just his transportation, it’s also his recreation and his hobby.
He spends many of his weekends competing in professional bike races.
Hurst may ride his bike everywhere he needs to go, but never call him a cyclist.
“I’m not a cyclist, I would just consider myself a bike racer,” Hurst said. “Cyclists are overly considered with the best cloths and equipment.”
For Hurst racing is just about doing it.
“I didn’t worry about the fancy equipment, I just jumped right in using a steel bike,” Hurst said. “If you wanted to race tomorrow, all you would need is a bike and a helmet.”
Hurst’s biking origins start at childhood.
“I got a bike when I was five, no training wheels of course,” Hurst said. “I learned fast.”
While Hurst’s first introduction to the bikes may have been at a young age it was actually a personal misfortune that caused him to get so heavily involved in the biking world.
“I lost my license a couple of years ago, so a bike was the only way I could get around,” Hurst said.
It was through Hurst’s constant, but necessary, biking that he meat some friends who were involved in racing bikes.
“One weekend one of my friends invited me to race bikes, so I went and I have been racing ever since.” Hurst said.
The city of Athens’s lends itself to being a very bike friendly place.
“The University is right next to downtown,” Hurst said. “Geographically it’s perfect for bike riding.”
Even with its challenging terrain, Hurst said that there are things one can do to make their bike riding experience a simpler one.
“If your feeling a little tired, you can always reroute your trip, don’t carry a heavy backpack if you have to hit the hills and always stay away from Baxter Street,” Hurst said.
The Hub is located near the campus, which is convenient for students.
“It’s nice for students to have a place so close to campus in case something goes wrong with their bike,” Torcivia said.
Athens may be a bike friendly city, but all its residents may not be.
“It’s actually scarier commuting around town then it is riding a race,” Hurst said. “In a race you don’t have to worry about cars, I was hit by a car once.”
Hurst was riding his bike on the road. He began to pass a car who had failed to put their turning blinker on. The car slammed right into Hurst.
Luckily, Hurst was not seriously injured.
“It’s pretty scary you know, you really just got to always be quick to hit the brakes,” Hurst.