You’ll spot them riding out Old Mission Peninsula, cycling teams, wheels spinning in unison, their matching bike jerseys a blur to those they pass. Or you’ll catch a glimpse of them flashing through the Vasa Trail forests, their bikes’ fat tires churning up dirt hills and navigating gnarly single-track, and again, the matching jerseys.
Back in 2007, Hagerty Insurance launched the region’s first cycling race team, and now the team phenomenon is blowing up—men, women and even kids—and at least nine local company sponsors: M22, Keen Technical Solutions, Einstein Cycles, Team Bob’s Heating, Cooling and Plumbing, City Bike Shop, McLain’s Cycle, Boone’s restaurant, Norte!, and, still today, Hagerty Insurance.
“What’s so great about all the teams now is they’re getting more and more people into the sport who didn’t race before,” says Susan Vigland, one of the original members of the Hagerty team, which now includes 60 to 70 cyclists. “All teams have team rides, train together and get people fired up for races.” She guesstimates more than 200 people are on one team or another this summer.
And forget the age barrier. Late last year, during a group ride that included cyclists from at least four different race teams, Vigland rode alongside a 25-year-old guy and a 53-year-old woman. “No one cares how old you are—you’re riding buddies,” she says.
Teams often are at the start line of local races together, and though they’ll certainly compete with one another for that coveted No. 1 finish, respect and camaraderie prevails. Consider the story Vigland shares of an M22 team rider experiencing bike issues just before the race. Just moments before the start gun went off, members of McLain’s team stepped in to help, ensuring their competitor could participate in the race. “They didn’t have to do that,” she says. “What a great cycling community we have—everyone is so connected. It really is a close-knit community.”
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