The Bowdoin Cycling Club is launching a new initiative to add mountain biking trips to its weekly offerings, but members are still working to come up with the funds to buy mountain bikes they will need to grow.
Mountain bike prices range anywhere from $400 to $600 per bike, and the club has struggled to obtain funds for the bikes. Andrew Moore ’21, a member of the club, believes that obtaining funding from the Student Activities Funding Committee (SAFC) has failed because interest in the project is small.
Without SAFC funds, the club has found creative ways to round up bikes. It asks security for any bikes students left unclaimed. In the past, Security has provided a couple of team road bikes. Moving forward, the club hopes to partner with the Bowdoin Outing Club to gain access to mountain bikes that could be used for training and racing in the fall season.
Garrison Asper ’22 was one of the primary supporters of the new initiative.
“I have always been into mountain bike racing since I was pretty young, and in getting to Bowdoin, I was really psyched that there was a cycling program that I could race with,” said Asper. “But last fall I realized there was no funding in the budget for mountain biking [even though] I met a lot of other mountain bikers who are [excited] to race.”
Next fall, the club will head to Acadia National Park during fall break to participate in a 100-mile ride.
“[The fall is] very laid back and as serious as you want it to be,” said Moore. “You can train a lot on your own, or you can just show up when it’s nice outside once or twice a month.”
Asper hopes the team can be more competitive, while maintaining its laid-back style.
“We want to do more longer group rides like Acadia and more races,” said Asper. “Hopefully with the [club] recharter we will be able to use mountain bikes in the fall and road bikes in the spring season.”
The club is open to anyone regardless of their experience on a bike.
“I don’t think you have to have a strong background,” said Moore. “We want to keep it open and have a space where anyone who wants to learn or train can do so.”
Above all, Asper said, the group aims to enjoy cycling.
“Bikes are fun. We are trying to reduce the barrier of entry to bike racing and just have fun on bikes,” said Asper. “No matter your skill level, we want anyone that is curious and who wants to do it.”
The club organizes group rides two or three times per week. Interested cyclists meet at the Polar Bear statue.