Initiatives cycling toward success

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Hampden-Sydney College (H-SC), in conjunction with the college’s cycling team, is looking to rollout a bike rental program this fall.

Dean of Students Dr. Robert Sabbatini said the college has 15 bicycles they have purchased and put together.

“It’s a variety of cruisers and mountain bikes and students, faculty or staff will be able to check those out for a weekend, for a day,” Sabbatini said. “These are high-end bicycles, if you will. They’re very nice, durable, so they should last the wear and tear they’re going to get,”

He said students are working to clean up the Wilson Trail so the mountain bikes can be used along it.

“That’s kind of the whole idea,” Sabbatini said.

Sabbatini said in August he had the idea of the program on campus and met up with the college’s cycling club.

“(I pitched) all that to them and said we’d set up a meeting and they starting bringing up cycling as well, and it was kind of both ideas bouncing off of one another and joined that partnership right then, which was it just right place right time type of thing,” Sabbatini said. “They just started, I would say (to) run with it, but they started bicycling with it.”

Freshmen George Tryfiates and David Fluharty started the cycling club following the meeting in August.

“There’s a freshman leadership program here on campus where you basically arrive a week early and we were both participating in that. And that’s how (Tryfiates) and I met,” Fluharty said. “You know, as things tend to go with cyclists, we brought it up and instantly. We just had a lot in common and decided we wanted to start a cycling club. …”

“We just mentioned (the club) to a few people, you know, at the introductory days and immediately we started making connections … There was a lot of support from the school to help us and encourage us to get this program going, especially from Dean Sabbatini,” Tryfiates said.

Tryfiates said Sabbatini came to the cycling club and asked them for help.

“We were able to help him out and give him advice, and I’m just glad we were able to be involved in the process and help,” Tryfiates said.

Sabbatini said the ultimate goal for the efforts is to apply to the League of American Bicyclists.

“They actually award recognition, if you’re a bicycle friendly campus, for colleges and universities … Once we get (more bike friendly) things in place, we’ll actually apply and we can get recognized by the League of American Bicyclists,” Sabbatini said.

Tryfiates said the main cycling club sponsor is Whitworth Cycles in Richmond, led by H-SC alumni Whit Brooks. He said businesses also have sponsored the club, including Fourth Street Motors, W.A. Watson and Sons Insurance, Navona Hart Realty, The Outdoor Adventure Store and Peaks Coaching Group.

Tryfiates said the club hopes to host a collegiate race at H-SC in the coming years.