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Purdue Cycling Club Shares Passion with the Community

Cyclists riding down a road.

The art of cycling is a multi-step and well-thought-out process. The journey of a bike ride includes far more than just getting on the bicycle and going out for a spin. There are many elements to consider, from how to dress in preparation to cycle to the actual routes themselves. There is a formula to it. A club that appreciates every step of this careful process is the Purdue Cycling Club.

Purdue Cycling Club is a collection of students and faculty who are passionate about cycling, and this is reflected not just in group rides, but also in fierce competition and free bike repairs extended to the community. Members have the opportunity to accomplish their cycling-related goals through this organization. Whether it is trying to stay active while making friends, learning the ins and outs of bike repairs or training to become a premier racing athlete, there are opportunities for everyone.

Purdue Cycling Club

President and graduate student, Shawn Prosky, says there are many distinguishing features of the club that provide members with tools to succeed in their avenue of choice.

“We offer social opportunities and we do things as friends that aren’t related to cycling if you’re looking to find a community,” Prosky explains. “We also emphasize that this isn’t a sport you’re signing up for, it is the most open participation club that exists among the sports clubs. People like that when they join the club that it is just one big community.”

One of the major points of emphasis surrounding Purdue Cycling Club is its dedication to community outreach.

“We have always had some kind of presence on campus when it comes to fixing bikes,” Prosky says. “When I joined the club in 2018, we had two guys with a couple of multitools at the farmer’s market. Now it has evolved and we have any tool you could ever need. We have fixed over 1200 bikes in the last two years, and 755 of those bikes were in the fall of 2022.”

Members of Purude Cycling Club offering free bike repairs.

Bike repairs aren’t exclusive to locations on campus such as the farmer’s market and Honors North. Purdue Cycling Club reaches its services out to Greater Lafayette. The Purdue Cycling Club offers free repairs at Food Finders Food Bank Fresh Market in Lafayette. For many who bike to the pantry, their bike is the only transportation accessible. Through the club’s hard work in fundraising and their many partnerships, they have made it possible to not only provide free repair services but also free parts to repair the bikes.

An exciting event on the way for Purdue Cycling Club is their Purdue Criterium Race, which is being hosted by Purdue on April 15-16th at Wea Ridge Middle & Elementary schools. A criterium is a race in which there are a specified number of laps on a closed course over public roads closed to normal traffic. The Purdue Criterium Race will be the first race hosted by Purdue in five years, putting Purdue back into the Midwest cycling scene.

“My goal is to make it go smoothly,” Prosky says. “Safety is the number one priority, there is so much planning that goes into it.”

When asked what he’ll be thinking about during the race, Prosky takes a moment to reflect.

“I’m mostly thinking that it hurts, but I love the wind in my face. I love the feeling that I’m red lining my body and I’m thinking about me and the machine going all out.”

There are so many more details to ensuring a safe bike ride outside of just wearing a helmet. Wearing a helmet is incredibly important to protect riders from not just the dangers of crashing, but also the dangers of others on the road. Equipping bikes with proper lighting to remain visible to cars and wearing the right clothes while cycling are also both massive elements of safety. The Purdue Cycling Club hosts safety meetings once a semester that cover details to advocate for proper cycling safety and to keep their members safe and prepared.

Members of the club are drawn together for this very feeling of going all out, and this is not a feeling exclusive to any level of experience. Beginners are encouraged to join the club, and there are rides for people of all abilities. No one gets left behind during rides, even if newer riders push themselves past the red line. On long rides with fast tempos, it can be easy to fall short of a pace and lose the group but there is always someone who stays behind with anyone who can’t keep up with the pack.

Purdue cyclists riding down a path on an autumn day.

“I was that freshman that bonked,” Prosky says. Bonking is a common danger in biking in which low glucose levels cause the body to feel exhausted, have extreme physical weakness, nausea and poor coordination, and makes riders incapable of keeping up with the group. “I pushed myself harder than I could go because I wanted to challenge myself. Then I learned my limits. I know what it’s like being the person who falls behind, so I love being there for those still learning their limits.”

Being the ride leader was Prosky’s first leadership role in the club. He would often be the first smiling face to introduce beginners to the world of cycling. As the president serving his second and final term, he clarifies what he is working to accomplish with the time he has left.

“My position as president is everything to me,” Prosky says. “It’s not always the most glamorous job, but it’s everything. The most important thing to me is that the organization can keep growing and thriving when I’m gone. Everything I’m doing is so the club can continue to thrive when I’m gone.”

The growth and resilience demonstrated by Purdue Cycling Club speak to the attitudes of its members. In each member is a spark of passion for what they do, the commitment to pushing themselves to the edge and love for the community that they have created within the organization. Each member takes this attitude and utilizes it to confront any challenge that is in front of them. Group rides, races and bike repair sessions would not be possible without the grit of the club’s members.

Prosky says this to potential members: “The club is about bikes and fixing them, riding and racing them. It’s a community. No matter which aspect of bikes that you like there is a place for you in the club. It doesn’t matter what your goals are, what your gender is or how you want to be involved. This is the club for you.”

Purdue Cycling Club is accepting new members to share their passion of cycling with. To get involved, check out the Purdue Cycling Club website or send an email to

Written by: Hannah Williamson, writing and communications intern, Student Life Marketing