A calling for cycling
Outdoors or inside, mountain bike or fixie, leisure or training, freshman Austin Luther has found his calling in cycling.
Luther started cycling in eighth grade after being introduced to fixies, or fixed gear bikes by his friend. Having previously ridden mountain bikes, which did not have to be constantly pedaled and could be cruised upon, Luther was drawn to the speed that fixies allowed him. He spends three to four hours a day biking.
“I love the speed and the wind rushing against your face when you’re going so fast because it’s just pure adrenaline,” Luther said. “[Fixies] are also much faster than most bikes. It’s amazing to feel the wind hitting your face and knowing that you’re keeping up with cars and it’s just a fun experience.”
Luther, through his own experience and his friend’s, freshman Ronald Garcia’s, guidance, is able to perform several tricks. He has mastered “wheelies,” which is going on one wheel, track stands, holding yourself in place for a prolonged period of time, and riding backwards, achieved through bouncing off a wall and pedaling backwards.
“The tricks always have that possibility of you crashing and getting hurt and it’s really fun. It’s the adrenaline rush that’s so exciting,” Luther said. “I feel really accomplished doing things that others can’t and it’s the fact that I can almost crash doing whatever it is that gets me pumped.”
Although he has never raced before, Luther is preparing for the SoCal Fixed series next month in February. Having previously taken classes at the velodrome, a professional cycling center, he has signed up for another class in hopes of reaching the semi-pro level by the end of high school. The velodrome provides a different experience as there is little wind resistance and sloped sides and steep curves create a faster and more aerodynamic experience.
“It gave us the chance to get closer to professional cycling and to do something really fun,” Luther said. “I really enjoy the speed and it is a comforting thing to do. It’s just the wind and how it’s just you, yourself and the bike. It just gets my heart pumping and it’s amazing. I love it and it’s just so fun to do,” Luther said.
By Nicole Chiang, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of Austin Luther