Daily 49er

Cycling Team and Club returns to spin on

Jonathan Mckenzie, wins the Ontario race for CSULB Cycling.

Jonathan Mckenzie, wins the Ontario race for CSULB Cycling.

Danny Munson

Danny Munson

Jonathan Mckenzie, wins the Ontario race for CSULB Cycling.

Elizabeth Schmidt, Contributing Writer

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The wheels of Cal State Long Beach’s Cycling Team and Club are spinning once again after a two-year hiatus.

It was a passion for cycling that spurred co-presidents Gilbert Villegas and Michelle Perez, along with Vice President and Treasurer Ryan Mason, to revive the 10-member cycling team and 30-member cycling club in November.

Villegas, a junior kinesiology major who has been cycling for four years, said his passion began when he bought a bike off of Craigslist with money he made while working as a barista at Starbucks.

“I thought a club and team would be alive and running when I transferred to CSULB last fall,” Villegas said. “There’s something about cycling that doesn’t compare to any other sport, and I think everyone talks about riding a bike when they are younger, but when you get back on and ride again there’s a feeling of being free, and you do it because you love it.”

Villegas said he tried to reach out to others who may be interested in cycling and eventually found Perez and Mason, who shared the same interest in starting a club and team.

Mason, a philosophy graduate student, said the club, while separate from the team, is the all-encompassing part of CSULB Cycling. A club member gets onto the team when the rider is ready to start racing and after they get a USA Collegiate Cycling license.

Elaina Alvarez, a sophomore criminal justice major who is new to the club, said that everyone was very welcoming, and she hopes to eventually join the team.

“I learned how to ride with a group,” Alvarez said. “I think I am going to plan on racing soon.”

Perez, a senior kinesiology major, said the club goes on rides together in various locations, including El Dorado Park and the Pacific Coast Highway.

“I think it’s great to get beginners out there,” Perez said. “We try to be out on the streets as much as possible and represent CSULB and believe that everyone should be respectful to one another in the club and on the team.”

Mason, who previously ran a cycling club in Hawaii and has 16 years of cycling experience, said he had to do a lot of research to get the club at CSULB started. And so far, the team has been successful.

Even before the start of the collegiate season in February, the CSULB Cycling Team won a race at the Ontario Grand Prix and two short bike races, or criteriums, at Dominguez Hills. They also had their first two races in San Diego Saturday and Sunday in the collegiate team. The team took first place in the collegiate D road race at Boulevard San Diego yesterday.

According to Villegas, as a first year club, the CSULB Cycling Team and Club have to find their own sponsors and funding before Associated Students Inc. can subsidize them.

While they have a few sponsors, Villegas said the club still has to come up with a lot of the money out of their own pocket. Villegas said the cost of gear, bikes, races, a collegiate cycling license and more, can cost more than $2,000 for each member a semester.

“We are also trying to promote the club by selling gear,” Mason said. “This month we are going to sell bicycle water bottles.”

The Cycling Club meets every first and third Monday of the month. More information can be found at www.csulbcycling.com.

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