The Bay Rollers -
Remember the days of your youth exploring the streets, joining friends to cruise the beach, and coming up with exciting games on your bike? The cement slab under my house was a course for high-speed chases and the streets were canvases to our invisible swerving trails our tires left behind. Our bikes meant freedom and adventure for my sister and me, often with friends or cousins.
Fond memories like these are not so distant from a group of thirteen guys between 40- and 70-years-old. They call themselves the Bay Rollers Cycling Club. While they aren’t kids anymore, they still enjoy the adventures and friendship their bicycles afford them.
Beach to Bayou
At the advent of the club in the summer of 2014, some of the members noticed that their buddies were doing the same thing they were to stay active. Individually, they were riding their bikes. So, they decided to come together one Saturday and ride together instead. Once it became a regular occurrence, they decided to form an official club with elected officers.
The men boast an average of 20 miles in a typical group ride at about 15 miles per hour. That’s pretty impressive stamina for men of their seniority. Labat describes the club as a “group of friends who share a love for cycling and want to be physically active into their retirement years and beyond.” Their goal is to improve their level of fitness and cycling techniques in an environment of camaraderie and mutual support. In between rides, they hold monthly meetings to discuss upcoming events and to share cycling information.
The Bay Roller’s don’t just ride their bikes for fun and fitness, however. They also come together to give back to their community. They’ve promoted cycling by donating over 30 bikes to elementary schools, raise community awareness about bike safety, and participate in other group rides from Slidell to Gulf Shores. The club actively participates in community beautification projects and supports local non-profit organizations. You can also see the Bay Rollers in local Mardi Gras parades.
“We are especially grateful to our sponsors who have supported us since our initial meeting in July, 2014,” says Labat. “Their support has allowed us to be a presence in the Bay St. Louis community that we love.”
Cycling is known to be a source of low-impact exercising with little strain on your back and hips. At the same time, cycling can be a serious and strenuous sport. The Bay Rollers take advantage of the ease of riding, while also pushing each other to be better cyclists and healthier adults.
“Cycling affords us a means to get physical exercise, socialize, and promote the sport to others,” says Labat. Because cycling is fun and you can control how much energy you exert, it’s truly a past-time for anyone.
Take it from Myron Labat: “Cycling is one of the least expensive, most gratifying and most wholesome ways to see the best parts of your community, or even other communities, while reaping the benefits of non-jarring exercise."
"It can be enjoyed on many levels: solo (therapeutic), together with family and/or friends (social), or competitively (racing). To those searching for a fun way to exercise that's easy to stick with, we say, ‘Give cycling a try. Transform a childhood pastime into a lifelong passion that continues to reward.’”
"And don’t forget your helmet!"
Upcoming events for the Bay Rollers include participation in the Natchez Trace Century Ride in Ridgeland, MS on May 2nd and presence at the Gulf Coast Bicycle Club’s Vintage Bike Show and Swap Meet on May 3rd.
Labat offers, “Anyone who loves cycling, wants to improve their fitness level and wants to give back to their community is welcome to join the Bay Rollers.”
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