Cyclists fund-raise by going nowhere

Laura Schocker

Weinberg freshman Seth Meyer started cycling at The Rock at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. Nearly 8 hours and 150 miles later he finished his ride — at The Rock.

“People kept saying ‘It looks like you’re working real hard, but you’re not going anywhere,” said Meyer, co-president of Northwestern Cycling. “A lot of people thought we’re crazy, but that’s the point. We are crazy and dedicated about what we do.”

Meyer and two other teammates suited up in their team jerseys to raise money for their trip to the National Collegiate Cycling Association’s Road National Championship in Lawrence, Kan. Students put donations in a bin next to the cyclists throughout the day. The team, which will attend the championship May 13-15, raised $83.71 toward their $1000 goal, Meyer said.

“During the winter months, we use our normal racing bicycles with a mechanism that allows us to ride in a stationary position,” Meyer said. “So, we thought why not combine training with fund-raising and get a little attention by The Rock?”

This year the team finished third in the Midwest division. Since November, Meyer and his teammates have been training six days a week for competitions that normally span 70 to 80 miles, about half the length of Tuesday’s marathon fund-raiser.

Meyer said he prepared for the fund-raising ride by eating double helpings of pancakes, potatoes and eggs before he began cycling Tuesday morning. He ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and tofu stir fry while he cycled throughout the day.

“Being hungry is the worst thing that can happen during a long ride,” Meyer said, estimating that he burned up to 6,000 calories during his ride. “It’s important to eat because it’s hard enough focusing on riding without worrying about being hungry.”

Meyer finished the day by eating twice his usual portions of dinner and crawling into bed.

“I have this underlying constant burn in my legs and I feel two inches shorter when I stand up,” Meyer said. “I have to get up for class tomorrow morning, but it will be hard to convince my legs to come with me.”

Northwestern Cycling isn’t sure how they will raise the rest of the funds, but sponsors might help them reach their goal.

“This is a very good start,” Meyer said. “Some people donated, some stopped to chat, and some just walked by to get to class.”

Beyond raising money, Northwestern Cycling co-president John Roberts said the stunt helped to create awareness of the cycling team on campus.

“A lot of people don’t even know we’re a team,” said Roberts, a chemistry graduate student. “We might have surprised a few people. They were mostly curious, interested, and supportive.”

Roberts said Tuesday’s ride combined training with fund-raising and making the team more visible.

“I always enjoy riding my bike,” Roberts said. “And now I got to combine it with these other goals for a neat twist.”

Erik Gullikson, the team’s top individual rider, also said he hoped the fund-raiser would raise student awareness of the cyclists.

“We’re fairly competitive and it’s too bad no one knows about it,” said Gullikson, a Weinberg senior.

Gullikson said he only completed about 90 minutes of the marathon-length race.

“Long hours of studying and long hours of cycling aren’t really a married couple,” Gullikson joked.

Those interested in contributing to the cyclists’ fund can send a check, money order or cash to Northwestern Cycling, Patten Gymnasium, 2407 Sheridan Road.

More information can be found at http://groups.northwestern.edu/cycle.

Reach Laura Schocker at [email protected]