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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Tucson is a ‘bikers paradise’ for UA Cycling

Sam Gross

Cyclists line up for the start of the Men’s B race during the UA Bio Park criterium on Saturday, Jan. 30. The UA Cycling club was named Collegiate Club of the Year by USA Cycling.

Known for being one of the most bike friendly cities in the U.S., Tucson is most certainly a cyclist’s paradise.

For the past 31 years, the UA Cycling Club has been able to provide college students the opportunity to connect with bike enthusiasts no matter their major. 

Compared to the average club sport on campus, UA Cycling has managed to take the nation by storm over the past two years. 

In fact, the program has been named National Collegiate Cycling Club of the Year for the past two seasons by USA Cycling, which geography graduate student and UA Cycling Club president Joey Iuliano said is essentially unheard of. 

“It’s kind of a holistic application,” Iuliano said. “It looks at more than just what the club does with race results, it’s like looking at what they do in the community to promote cycling, what we do off the bikes like team activities and volunteer services. They are looking at what this organization brings to the community and to advance cycling as a whole within that area.”

USA Cycling is the national governing body for collegiate cycling and demonstrates the impact that Arizona has on cycling across the country. 

“It highlights that we are doing a lot of great things in the community,” Iuliano said. “We are highlighting the sport of cycling and getting more people riding bikes. It just highlights that we are doing a lot of good within the sport and representing the UA in a really positive light.”

While riders can range from former professional racers to casual bikers, some national-caliber riders have been part of the program. 

Take business economics senior Kyle Trudeau, for example. Trudeau has been racing since he was five years old and has done his best to climb the ranks of collegiate cycling over the years.

While Arizona is proving that it is not a force to be reckoned with in collegiate cycling, the program still has a lot of work to do before it can rival the top collegiate schools in the country. 

“I think its huge that the team has won collegiate club of the year multiple times now,” Trudeau said. “It is exactly what the team needs in order to gain exposure, which will one day lead to a cycling program that can rival the powerhouse schools like Fort Lewis College and Marian. I have no doubt that it will happen one day with all the hard work that Joey puts into the club and the fact that Tucson is a cyclist’s dream.”

Trudeau has managed to earn a National Championship title in the single speed category in 2015 and earn more awards in both the short track category and cross-country event.

“The cycling team has helped me greatly in every aspect of the sport and even sent me to my first Collegiate National Championship event in North Carolina in 2014,” Trudeau said. “It was an amazing feeling to stand on the podium against such a stacked field and represent the UA like that. Currently, I’m focusing on the United States Professional Cross Country Circuit with my team CZ Racing supporting me.”

It’s hard to believe the club was pretty much run into the ground until Iuliano took over the program after the graduate students that were running it left the UA. 

“One of my favorite things about collegiate cycling is that it’s not all just elite athletes,” Iuliano said. “We have people who just started biking last week all the way up to former professionals, so it runs the gauntlet of skills and abilities. I think that’s the best part of it to have such a wide variety of skill.” 

Iuliano said he has a message to the Tucson community about riding bikes. 

“I would say just ride your bike more,” Iuliano said. “It always amazes me the number of people that are sitting at Grant Road and all the cars are lined up to Adams Street and I’m just riding 10 mph and I know I’m going to beat all these people home by like 20 or 30 minutes. Why are you spending $600 on a parking permit when you could ride the three miles to campus and get there faster? Just try riding a bike and give it a go.” 

As far as the team’s atmosphere goes, it’s one of Iuliano’s favorite aspects about the UA Cycling Club.
“Everyone is friends: that’s the coolest aspect,” Iuliano said. “Nobody feels like they are greater than anybody else on the team. We all help each other and get super excited when somebody new joins the team. It’s that whole community aspect that helps the new person feel like they are part of a family right from the start.”

As far as cities go, Tucson is a good choice for avid cyclists.

“Compared to the Midwest, this is a biker’s paradise,” Iuliano said.

Follow Matt Wall on Twitter.

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