Profile: The UCLA Cycling Team Embodies All It Means to Be Student Athletes

Cycling is often an overlooked sport and after participating in a SoulCycle class a few months ago with my fellow Her Campus staff, I grew a newfound appreciation for it. I decided to interview some members of the UCLA Cycling Team to gain some more insight into the world of cycling.

To me, riding a bike is a hobby, something I do around the neighborhood when I am bored and need some fresh air. But, dedicated cyclists would disagree. “[Cycling] is something that is so integral to my identity that if I wasn’t a cyclist anymore I wouldn’t know what to do with myself,” says Brian Stack, a second year MCDB major and kit designer of the UCLA Cycling Team. Many of the team members have dedicated much of their lives to cycling, starting at a young age and now in their tenth year or more. They ride almost every day of the week, biking a total of around 20 hours every week! (that’s about how much Netflix I binge in a week)...

As with any sport, cycling teaches you a certain skill set, most important of which are patience and time management. As full-time UCLA students, the team learns to balance both their training and their academics. Rupert Cox, a second year Economics & Psychology double major as well as the Treasurer of the team, tells us that “a big part of cycling is timing your efforts and training just right. You spend the majority of the season working towards one target race that you can peak for, so it becomes a long nine month-long journey that needs to be paced right.”

The members of this team are truly passionate about the sport and that creates a strong team bond. When asked about his favorite part of the UCLA Cycling Team, Ethan Frankel, a second year neuroscience major and Vice President, responds “being on the team has created opportunities to meet amazing people and forge strong relationships that include roommates and best friends. By surrounding myself with people this dedicated to cycling and this determined, it pushes me to better myself and those around me.” His fellow teammates (and roommates) Rupert and Brian had similar responses. Cycling is not just a sport to them, but a lifestyle. It is what motivates them to get up in the morning, a sense of “Nirvana,” as Stack describes.

Learning a new sport might be difficult and it might take time; “it can be intimidating to try something new, but I guarantee you that there will be experienced people who can help guide you through this adjustment,” Cox tells us. Stack builds on this idea, stating that one should “surround [himself] with people who know what they are doing because the knowledge they have from sheer experience will help you progress faster than trying to struggle through the learning curve all by yourself.” Sometimes it is easy, almost too easy, for us to admit defeat and give up, but as Frankel states, “giving up on yourself is the easiest cop-out but detrimental for mental and physical health. Giving up a sport that you are not passionate about is completely valid and you should spend your time pursuing passions, so long as you do not abandon your own self-worth.” Find something you love and pursue it.

We want to thank the members of the UCLA Cycling Team for taking the time to talk to us. Be sure to check out the team’s Instagram and website!

Photos Courtesy of Brian Stack, Ethan Frankel, and Rupert Cox