Despite not starting up until 2006, Temple’s cycling club ranks No. 13 in the nation.
Senior marketing major Jay Gurcsik purchased his first road bicycle on a whim shortly before coming to Temple in fall 2006. Soon after the semester started, someone on Facebook contacted him about forming a cycling club, he said.
Since then, the more than 100-person club, which Gurcsik said includes faculty and staff and is “primarily a recreational club with a team attached to it,” has led several group rides per week at different speeds.
During the spring and fall, 15 of the 40 registered student-cyclists also race competitively, and they have been quite successful at it, ranking 13th in the nation. Individually, alumna Kristen Gavin placed fifth at the Collegiate Cyclocross Nationals in 2008.
On Sept. 26, Gurcsik led a relay team that competed in the Collegiate Track Nationals in Allentown, Pa. Gurcsik and his teammates, senior Alex Bloom and sophomore Eric Mayer, finished ninth.
Glenn Eck, the assistant superintendent of grounds, started cycling on-and-off at 19 and joined the cycling team in 2008 at the age of 26 after he saw a student ride through campus wearing a Temple cycling jacket. Eck lives in Ambler and has commuted – on his bike rather than by car – to campus for 10 years.
“Last year was my highest mileage year of my life,” Eck said. “It’s more fun than driving. I like being outdoors. It puts a little more adventure back into everyday living. When I ride from Ambler, I see deer and foxes. Just the other day, I was riding at 5:30 a.m., and I heard this enormous tree falling in the middle of the woods. It’s just the fun factor first and foremost. I own a car, but it’s just something that works for me.”
Eck shares his knowledge of Montgomery County routes on the cycling listserv, emphasizing the social benefits of cycling.
“I have made great friendships,” he said. “How many people get to go out and just talk for four hours about nothing?”
As staff, Eck cannot compete with the team in collegiate events, but he still feels he has gained a lot from being a member.
“If I didn’t ride, then I would definitely be 20 pounds heavier by just sitting here at my desk every day,” Eck said. “It’s great being able to ride with younger people who are fun and athletic.”
The team has plans to organize more fun, theme-oriented rides such as Scrabble, Poker and Halloween rides as opposed to just competitive ones.
“The idea of a Scrabble ride is to race from station to station collecting a card with a letter on it from each one,” Eck said. “The team that can form the biggest word and can score the most points wins a prize.
“The Halloween ride probably sounds a lot simpler,” he added.
Anyone interested in joining the cycling club can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quentin Williams can be reached at email@example.com.