Even through the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the Break-Away Bicycle Club (BABC) are trying to remain active while in-person group rides are on hold.
Club President Brian Enyart said the club was moving toward attempting virtual rides. Members will be able to utilize their bicycles hooked up to indoor bicycle trainers to provide resistance as if riding on the road. Through an app called Zwift, which sets up a virtual world of online environments, riders can bike with up to 20,000 friends.
“That’s something we’re just trying to figure out … You can join one of several online environments that will take the data from your set-up and place you in a virtual world to cycle alongside other people … We’ve been trying to figure out if there are suitable ways to allow club members to do meet-ups and ride in those rides so they can still ride together and communicate from within whatever set-up you have at your own house,” Enyart said.
The BABC was founded in 1986 and was formed to promote an avenue of fun camaraderie as well as great exercise, according to Enyart. With 30 to 40 paying members, every year the club makes a charitable donation to various organizations in the community. In previous years, donations have been made to the Nickel Plate Trail, Kokomo Rescue Mission, City of Kokomo, Kokomo Urban Outreach, and Kokomo Education Foundation.
Although the weekly group rides from April through October have been put on hold, Enyart said members still are encouraged to get outside. An option the club was promoting was to have members ride on some of their favorite routes around the county solo, and everyone's progress would be tracked.
“We’re trying to come up with ways to encourage people to continue to cycle. As far as we know it’s still allowed by both the state and Howard County. We encourage people to still do that but do so in a responsible way, pretty much meaning riding away from other members,” Enyart said.
Typically, the BABC participates in three big events every year. The club kicked off its season on Jan. 1, participating in the 50th annual Polar Bear Ride in Kokomo. With coronavirus seemingly far from Indiana at that point, Enyart said members rode the 25-mile group ride together without hesitation.
The other two big events set for 2020 were the 27th annual SunStroke 74 ride on the Fourth of July and the 35th annual Sizzling Century in August. The 74-mile SunStroke ride will be hosted by Enyart and his wife, and he was hopeful the race still would happen.
Enyart said the best option for the club right now still was to get outdoors, exercise, and encourage other members from afar.
“We do encourage everybody to get out and continue to exercise and enjoy the outdoors. It’s allowable. The health department says it’s safe and smart. Get out there, and enjoy it,” Enyart said.