One of my favorite parts about being cyclist is the community.
On local group rides, and at races, people have been very supportive to me. Experienced riders often offer me advice about riding in a peloton. Parents in the SoCal High School Mountain Bike League cheer for you no matter what team you are on. Sure, there are the occasional jerks, but generally people are very kind and encouraging.
The cycling community feels like a big, fun family. And for me, it actually is also family. My grandpa was the one who got my parents into riding. He started riding mountain bikes in his 50’s. My parents raced mountain bikes in their early 20’s. My parents started me riding at a young age. I got my first bike when I was three.
I started racing mountain bikes when I was 11 and cyclocross at age 12. I still go on mountain bike rides with my grandpa. He rips for a 78-year-old.
I particularly like the cyclocross community. It’s tight knit, everyone seems to know each other better and it has a quirky sense of humor. During SoCalCross races, I’ve been called the Poster Boy for Pantene, asked if I need a scrunchy and heard a “Long Hair Don’t Care!” rallying cry when I pass other riders. The Best Friends Forever Cycling Club loves to give hand ups to racers: donuts, bacon, adult beverages (which I pass on) and “vegan fruit”.
Zeke van Rooyen lives in Pasadena, CA. He recently won the SCNCA Cat 4 Men's District Championship and is training for the U.S. Cyclocross Nationals.
Follow Zeke on Instagram: @ezcycles