Dyess Air Force Base will swing its gates open on Saturday for the third annual 26.2-mile Tour de Dyess bike ride.
“I wanted to set up an event that was open to the whole base and to the entire Abilene community and to try to bring people together,” Senior Airman Michael Hernandez said.
Hernandez is serving as the point of contact and has organized the event.
According to a release from Dyess AFB, the purpose of Saturday’s ride is to “enhance the morale of our Dyess airmen and our Abilene community in remembrance of September 11, 2001.”
A winner will be determined in four categories: men (15-30 and over 30) and women (15-30 and over 30). Winners will be determined by the time in which they successfully complete the four laps on a course that winds throughout Dyess AFB housing.
Zack Morgan, senior biology major from Keller, began cycling his freshman year and will participate in Saturday’s ride.
This May, Morgan rode in the 100-mile “Great Austin to Shiner Pedal” bike race.
“One hundred miles is kind of a symbolic milestone in cycling,” Morgan said. “The century ride is like the marathon for running. It was something that I wanted to do and I had an opportunity to do it, so I did it.”
Morgan enjoys cycling as a hobby as well as the physical aspect of the sport.
“You get good cardio, you get a good aerobic workout, but it is also very low impact,” he said. “You see a lot of runners that are getting into their fifties and sixties and they’ve been running their whole lives and their knees and hips are falling apart. You don’t really see that with cyclists.”
Few people are aware of the history of cycling. According to usacycling.org, the first recorded bicycle race took place on May 31, 1868, and cyclists were the highest paid athletes in the U.S. until Babe Ruth joined the Yankees in 1920.
Cycling is an individual sport, but can be turned into a group event.
“Riding with friends is always fun, especially to help cut the wind in Abilene,” Morgan said. “But I enjoy the solitude of being out on the road and being able to think to myself and ride however quickly or slowly I feel like.”
The ride starts at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday morning and participants need to arrive at least 30 minutes early.