Since going online, it’s been hard to connect with clubs. What do these clubs do? How are they doing fun activities remotely? How do students get involved? I had the pleasure of interviewing Krystal Li, roommate, and passionate cyclist about her participation in Cycling Club.
What is your favourite part about cycling?
My personal favourite is bikepacking and bike touring. You travel by bike to different places. Bike touring gives you a more intimate experience. On two wheels, you are more reliant on local people. It’s an immersive experience, be it in community and nature. By travelling at a slower pace, you can truly experience where you are. It challenges the way that you think about travel. It’s a rewarding physical and mental challenge. You cannot have that same experience in a car.
What is Cycling Club?
It is a community for cycling lovers. It is a community for all disciplines of cycling: road bicycle racing, mountain biking, track cycling, cyclo-cross, BMX, triathlons, time trialing, et cetera. You can also be someone who just casually rides bicycles or commutes. The community swaps advice about maintenance, cycling routes, and even where to eat. It is a one stop shop for tips and cycling friendship.
We also have collabs with other clubs and organizations. If you like maintenance, we are affiliated with the University of Waterloo Bike Center. You can rent tools for a cheap price and then you can fix your bike yourself. We did a collab with the KWCA training program too. If you’re really into racing, you can get support and training.
How have you shifted during the online school terms?
We do less organized group rides because of COVID restrictions. We have voice channels to train with your friends online. You can talk to each other while riding indoors. We also have virtual races or discrete races. Everyone races a set route. We pick a route near campus like Ring Road. You can ride it as many times as you want. Then you upload your time to the group and compare. It is a competition of sorts. It gives cyclists the experience of cycling while being safe.
Going online helped the community. Before online, we only had a Facebook group. With everything remote, we have started a Discord server. Now our Discord is busy with all sorts of conversations. We have a much bigger presence online since COVID.
What skills have you learned in Cycling Club?
For me, I learned how to ride in a group. I had only done solo riding. Group riding takes practise and trust. In Cycling Club, I was able to get comfortable doing group rides and socialize. I also feel more encouraged to do my own maintenance because the support. Whenever I feel that I messed up, I can always ask for advice.
Krystal changes her bike tire.
How would you describe the sense of community in Cycling Club?
It is very welcoming, especially for newbies. We never look down on people who just got into cycling. You can join for any reason if you have a passion for cycling. We only offer advice not criticism. People who are not racers are not outsiders. You can just like riding a bike to work. It is a good opportunity to exchange ideas and advice about cycling.
We have a good sense of humour too. We have lots of memes. Here is a fun one:
How can students get involved?
Most city cycling clubs have membership fees but not us, we’re completely free! Join our discord here: https://discord.gg/daeaMs9