The idea of tigers on bikes is beyond alarming; it is downright terrifying, especially for the LSU Cycling Club’s competition.
The LSU Cycling Club is a competitive cycling organization on campus that races in regional events. Along with the competitive races across Louisiana and throughout the South, the cycling club enjoys weekly social rides around the University promoting both healthy lifestyles and developing friendships.
LSU Cycling Club President and ISDS sophomore Connor Juban joined the cycling club after years of being a runner to maintain his healthy lifestyle.
“I used to be a runner and I found out about the cycling club through a friend,” Juban said. “I was like, sure, I will buy a bike and I’ll start coming to the meetings. I went to some of the meetings and social rides and met everyone in the community. I’ve been doing it ever since then.”
The LSU Cycling Club races road bikes in three distinct types of competitions. Bikers begin their cycling club careers in the D competition group and eventually graduate through the ranks as their experience levels grow. D groups have up to 30 riders per race while the A groups have only a select few.
Cyclists compete in road races, time trials and criterium. Every type of competition offers its own challenges for riders. Road races focus on endurance with long distances ranging from 40 to 50 miles.
Riders in time trials start 30 seconds apart from each other to prevent drifting. These trials focus more on individual, short-term bursts of speed with races lasting between 10 and 15 minutes depending on the distance. Criterium offer cyclists intense fast corners and short laps. These races are done in various parking lots and involve constant high-pressure situations for riders.
“The lap is going to be way less than a mile,” Juban said explaining criterium. “You’re going to be going to be cornering really fast, you are going to be going really fast. It sucks, but it is the funniest type of race.”
Some of the LSU Cycling Club’s 10 members may bike as many as five times a week independently, but the organization tries to do laid-back social rides during the week. Starting at 6 p.m. at the clock tower, the cycling club bikes around the University Lakes before heading to downtown Baton Rouge eventually making a large loop back to campus.
“You love it more than you think,” Juban said. “Once you get into it, you cannot get out. You want to be racing and beating other people. It’s really competitive. I’m not a competitive person, but when I race, you have to get after it and win.”