While the draw to cycling varies for every individual, there is no denying that bikes are a connective force to millions of people with one shared passion.
In the United States alone, nearly 50 million people ride bikes recreationally From content commuters to dedicated racers, there is something special that allures people to the sport. Life long cyclist Hunter Wilson has dedicated thousands of hours to training, the cycling community, and exploring what biking truly means to him.
“For me it’s like eating or sleeping. If I don’t do it I feel horrible… I don’t feel like myself,” explained Wilson, a third year Cal Poly Anthropology and Geography major.
Born in Reno Nevada, 21 year old Hunter Wilson was immersed in cycling at a very young age and completed his first race at eight years old. His parents Rachel and Sean Wilson created the youth development team GS Andiamo.
By the time Wilson was seventeen, he was racing against professional cyclists and eventually began coaching for GS Andiamo and other athletes. “Some weeks I would in put close to 40 hours a week between traveling, bike maintenance, training, planning,” he explained. Wilson traveled to countries such as Belgium to race against some of the top athletes in the world, however, his views on competing eventually began to shift.
“I viewed it (racing) as ‘keep moving forward in the sport’, but eventually I realized I was riding my bike for the wrong reasons,” Wilson explained. “I liked the action of riding and I liked training and being fit, but I realized didn’t need to compete.”
After taking time to rekindle his love for the sport, Hunter is able to continue training and expressing himself through the bike. On top of riding, Wilson leads skills clinics to help more people feel comfortable on bikes, works at a non profit bike shop, and spreads empowering messages via social media.
“What I’ve always enjoyed about the bike is the sense of freedom you get from it. Just training, and getting faster, and being able to ride farther—it’s very empowering and I believe everyone deserves that feeling,” said Wilson.