by Jared Grafenauer
This is no Tour De France. No crowd of bike riders surrounding you as you’re trying to ride in as straight of a line as possible, no giant hills to huff and puff up, turning your legs into Jell-O, and most importantly, no spandex! (Unless you prefer them).
“The idea of the bike club is to be able to include everybody here at Whatcom,” says Ben Mullen, co-president of Whatcom Community College’s bike club. “You absolutely do not have to be in any kind of shape to join. Anyone who knows how to ride a bike is welcome.”
The bike club intimidates most students because they think it is going to be an intense workout. But these aren’t “out to get a workout” rides, Mullen said. “They are just for fun and to meet new people. It is a nice, social ride. We just want to hang out with people and get to know them.”
The club rides at a “very slow pace,” and you are not required to stay with the group the whole time. You can turn around at any point, or go ahead at your own pace if you want.
These “inter-urban adventure rides” start at Whatcom and mosey along in parks, neighborhoods and trails. The group often takes a four-mile ride to Boulevard Park, where they take a break to hang out and maybe talk over a cup of coffee before they head back to Whatcom.
This last December, Ben Mullen and Sean Kydd took over as the presidents of Whatcom’s bike club. They believe students shy away from the bike club because they are scared they won’t be fast enough or will make fools of themselves, but the club has no intention of that. They accept anyone who has a bike and make sure everybody is comfortable when riding.
“We won’t leave anybody behind, and make sure nobody gets lost,” says Mullen, who loves to fix bikes as well as ride them. “If you need a hand with your bike, I’m there.”
The club takes their “inter-urban adventures” every other Wednesday afternoon, which starts at Whatcom and goes to all different parts of Bellingham. “We have a very relaxed membership,” said Mullen. There is no commitment involved, so it is not required that members make it to all of the rides. Even if someone only wants to do one ride, they are more than welcome.
The Whatcom bike club is not competitive by any means. It is more of a “social” club that rides bikes.
If students are seeking more adventure, every other Saturday, the bike club takes a trip up to Galbraith Mountain. Anyone can join these rides as well, but they are a little more challenging. “You don’t have to be in great shape, but you will want to be after the first ride on the mountain,” says Mullen. “It is great motivation to get out more and get active.”