By Mallory Sherwood, Managing Editor
Outside of a University Park apartment building stand six standard bikes, two tandem bikes, five unicycles, four long boards and a moped. For Daniel Wheeler and Aaron Bell these modes of transportation are their latest toys.
“We pick them up at garage sales and pawn shops; sometimes we trade things for them,” said Bell, junior communication major from Van. “We are boys who like to play, and when people come over, we want them to have something to do to.”
Play they do, as co-leaders of the newest club on campus: Tuesday night bike club.
Wheeler, senior English major from Van, said the first bike club meeting began after the showing of “Kicking and Screaming,” in Cullen Auditorium on Aug. 26. He said no one knew what to do, so they decided to ride their bikes around campus and town.
Now into its third week, the Tuesday night bike club has sparked interest.
“It started with 32 friends riding together, and it has grown into something out of control,” Wheeler said.
The first week the co-leaders counted 32 people who had shown up. By the second week, 58 rode and on Tuesday, 53 showed again.
Tuesday night bike club, or Night Riders, as many know it, offers students and faculty the opportunity to ride about 10 miles around campus and in the surrounding areas at night with a large group of people.
The route begins on campus at the courtyard of University Park Apartments, where riders meet at 9 p.m. for bike maintenance and wait for more to join them. By 9:15 p.m. the group has left UP, heading for the tennis courts where those playing tennis are circled as the riders repeatedly chant, “Tuesday night – where’s your bike?”
After the group cycle across campus, forming various formations such as the Flying V and the Figure Eight among others, they head down Washington Street to Cal Young Park and jump into the creek.
“It’s the dirtiest, nastiest creek in town, but because there are so many people, everyone cheers and wants to jump in and do tricks,” Bell said.
Riders both wet and dry then ride back to campus along Highway 80 and Judge Ely Boulevard, where they meet at UP again for a victory lap and inspirational speeches, given by Bryce Doty, class of 2005.
“People of all ages like to ride bikes,” Bell said. “This is something people can do who want to be active without being competitive. It is absolutely the funnest thing you can do on campus.”
Word of the Tuesday night bike club spread across campus and all types of people want to ride.
Wheeler said that a professor was expected to join them last Tuesday to ride as well as a man with a handicap bike, who pedals with his arms.
“I’ve had professors mention the bike club in class before, and yesterday a girl invited me to Tuesday night bike club, and I started it,” Bell said.
He said the bike club also received an unofficial invitation to participate in the Homecoming Parade, but said the club would decline because it was during daylight hours.
Others find the club exciting as well.
Leah Robison, junior political science major from Midland joined the club two weeks ago after a friend mentioned it.
“I love riding bikes, and we ride bikes at night, what could be better?” Robison said.
After riding the first time, Robison went again and said it is a weekly thing for her.
“Riding bikes is a fun thing to do,” she said. “It is also a great way to meet people you wouldn’t normally hang out with. Everyone with a love for bikes and riding at night should definitely be there.”