The Bicycle Club, the first cycling club established in the history of UW Tacoma, was birthed from an MBA project facilitated by Dr. Altaf Merchant. In lieu of conducting a market analysis for an existing company, group members pursued the challenge of creating an organization and executing a marketing plan in real time. The course project evolved into a joint endeavor to simultaneously create a student organization and execute a marketing plan.
The newly established Bicycle Club boasts an offering of community, fitness, and education related to cycling and associated health benefits. The Bicycle Club embodies the UW mission by looking towards building community, emphasizing stewardship, and fostering public service as the cornerstone of all group efforts. The group embraces the bicycle as a fun, alternate mode of transportation and empowers each member to participate through the support of an organized club.
In determining which club to establish, the group members deemed cycling club the most attractive for a variety of reasons. The project group found that they all internalized an appreciation for fitness, camaraderie, and the various benefits associated with cycling. Identified was a gap that existed in the market due to the unexpected reason of UW Tacoma not having a cycling club, considering that the Pacific Northwest is known for its outdoors and bicycle friendly communities. The newly established Bicycle Club offers a diverse experience and caters to the UW Tacoma campus, while fostering relationships with local partners in businesses and nonprofits across Pierce County. The club is established on the UWT DawgDen website, social media platforms, and has published an article in The Ledger.
Following the founding of the club in March 2018, The Bicycle Club President, Theresa Harding and Vice President, Keith Bright, seized an opportunity to study abroad in Rome. They explored how other countries are utilizing bicycles to improve congestion in urban areas and minimize the environmental impacts of carbon emissions associated with vehicles. They also found that the global community values cycling to battle a variety of health risks. Following Rome, the club officers attended the annual Bicycle Leadership Conference in Monterey, CA. The conference provided the latest information related to the bicycle industry, connecting people to cycling, and safety information. Armed with the most up-to-date information from business executives and industry leaders, the club officers built the necessary leadership framework to begin the fun part of the club – getting out there on group rides with fellow students, faculty, and staff!
Moving forward, The Bicycle Club maintains a priority to obtain sponsorships and donations to build a fleet of bicycles for the UW Tacoma campus that would become a permanent fixture for the community. At the end state of the initiative, the club hopes that each student will have the opportunity to sign out a bicycle and helmet, free of charge, to take part in group rides. The club collectively expresses their understanding that the cost of a bicycle is the primary barrier for students to join the newly established biking community. Unlike many collegiate cycling clubs, the club does not require or ask for membership dues, and no experience or fitness level is required before joining. At the heart of the club is social community and a supportive network that aims to offer much more than just cycling. The club welcomes all members of the community with open arms.
In the next several weeks, The Bicycle Club encourages all students to reach out on DawgDen and participate in upcoming events. All future events are listed on the DawgDen website. The club is currently holding indoor cycling workouts at the University YMCA to build conditioning for cycling through the spring and summer months, with classes to improve technical knowledge such as maintenance. Exciting events for the club have already been planned, such as the Vashon Island Beach Campout on Saturday, August 25th, with many more to come. Club leaders have expressed how excited they are to meet new members and see how far they can grow UW Tacoma’s very first cycling club.
Shane Benoit, Trevor Nhan