It’s become more than just a cycling group.
"We consider ourselves one big family, the Octagon Club,” said Bernard Lungaho, Founding Member of Octagon Cycling Club. “We became like a family, and we get together for meetings, cookouts and basically have fun.”
The Octagon Cycling Club started back in 1996. Bernard Lungaho was one of the founding members. The group's mission was to stay fit, meet new people, have some fun and attract a wide range of riders.
“To try to get as many young people of color involved in it,” said Lungaho. “Biking can be a very expensive sport because of the purchasing of the equipment, but what we are trying to do is just get people, whether you are a one speed bicycle or three speed bicycle, just come out and have some have fun.”
What started as six members has now grown to 40 members, with people from all walks of life.
“That is the most beautiful thing about the club, the diversity as you know, the sport of cycling is not too diverse, so I think it's very important to see women and people of color, different age groups it just helps just to overcome boundaries that we are all not that different. It is a beautiful thing,” said Tiana Holder, Secretary for Octagon Cycling Club.
The members ride together three times a week. Their manta is no one is left behind.
“Whatever miles you do, we turn back with you, and if you want to do more the next week, we can do more the next week,” said Holder.
Member Paul Ellis was born in Jamaica. He’s been riding a bicycle since he was about 6 years old and says during that time it was a form of transportation.
“To get to places quicker, so I could just ride my bike to wherever I got to go. Being an amputee, you can't run around,” said Paul Ellis, Octagon Cycling Club member.
He joined the Bloomfield-based cycling club eight years ago to enjoy riding as a pastime, what he got was much more.
“Friendship hanging out with good people. It's been one of the greatest parts of it,” said Ellis.
The club is celebrating 26 years and they hope to continue growing. This Sunday, August 28, they are hosting their 2nd Annual Tour of Bloomfield. All riding levels are welcomed.
“We have three routes this year, 63 miles, 35 miles and 10 miles,” said Holder.
All the proceeds from the tour will go to form a youth league in the future.
“I think it will help some kids find an outlet dealing with different issues, and it's very stress relieving, so I think it's good to get children from inner cities to see different areas,” said Holder.
Participants in the race can sign up online before Friday or in-person on Sunday. More information is available here.