A word from Sumter Cycling: Resolutions for the new year?

Published 12:10 pm Friday, January 29, 2016

For many people, the New Year means resolutions to lose weight and get fit.  Both initiatives are better achieved with the help and support of friends. One local organization, Sumter Cycling, is devoted to connecting biking enthusiasts whose mission is to promote cycling for enjoyment, transportation, fitness and the environment. In spite of its name, Sumter Cycling welcomes members from all surrounding communities, not simply Sumter County.
The organization’s annual meeting is scheduled for Feb. 9 at 6:00 p.m. and will be held at the new location for Café Campesino on 134 W Lamar Street in Americus.
Local cycling enthusiasts are invited to come enjoy a bowl of warm chili, meet other cyclists and learn about Sumter Cycling’s advocacy efforts. Input from attendees is also valued, regarding how to improve and promote cycling opportunities in Americus, Sumter County, and surrounding areas. Perhaps friendships established or rekindled will open new doors for additional cycling partners and/or learning new routes.
Included is feedback from a number of local cyclists who wanted to share their enthusiasm for the sport.
Connor Ciment, a Bike Tour Leader, commented “the cycling community is very warm and welcoming, and it is a great way to combine being outdoors and spending time with friends.”
Ian Pierson, a National Park Service Maintenance Supervisor, reported “I enjoy the outdoors, staying fit, and trying to see how fast I can push myself.”
A regional community and bicycle-pedestrian planner, Julio Portillo, cited a number of advantages to cycling, saying “health and wellness, great way to stay in shape with low impact, I can reach places otherwise inaccessible and I can see the world very inexpensively and feel good about it in the process.”
Cycling as a mode of transportation is highlighted by John Morgan of Habitat for Humanity. Morgan states “I love going for a long bike ride through the country to enjoy God’s creation, but as a commuter cyclist, I ride most often as a form of transportation. Why do I choose a bicycle over a motor vehicle? Here are a few reasons: (1) it’s environmentally friendly (2) it’s good exercise (3) it’s economical (4) at stop and go distances under a mile, it’s about as fast as a car (5) it’s fun.”
Ryan Iafigliola, Director of International Field Operations at the Fuller Center for Housing, explained his rationale: “I enjoy cycling for so many reasons. Riding a bike has helped me make so many friends, stay healthier, see so much more of this beautiful country, eat more delicious food, and even save a bit of gas money. It’s not always easy, but few good things are.”
Cycling is not restricted to men, of course. A number of women shared their views as well.
Office manager, Peggy Carson, stated that “cycling is a great way to stay fit and experience the outdoors.”
Retired educator and media specialist, Donna Franklin, used cycling to begin a healthier lifestyle. “Cycling played a major role in improving my health: a stronger, healthier heart and controlling my diabetes. Knowing these health benefits of cycling makes me want to keep up this activity. Not only has it had a huge impact on me becoming more healthy, it has improved my social life by providing opportunities to meet many new friends.” Franklin closed by saying “cycling benefits are boundless.”
There are, however, obstacles for cyclists in many communities. Miriam Finley, a local nurse and massage therapist explained “I don’t go bike riding because there are not many bike trails. And not many “safe” places to ride out of traffic.”
Sumter Cycling recognizes these needs and has as its vision statement… “Sumter Cycling envisions easy, safe, and fun cycling for all,” and works to advance these.”
The Georgia Department of Transportation and local jurisdictions are working to improve cycling conditions in all parts of our state. With the help of transportation planners and input from cycling advocates, many roads and facilities are being considered to better accommodate bicycles, making it easier for cyclists and motorists to safely share the road.
For local cycling information, join the Sumter Cycling Facebook group. Also check out the Instagram and Twitter feeds using the handle @sumtercyling to learn about organized cycling events in our area.
Bike safely. We would like to see you on at the annual meeting on Feb. 9.

-Sumter Cycling