Professors Cycle to Release Pressure

April 25, 2013

If you have been out and about driving around Arkadelphia lately, you may have seen people moving slowly who choose to take up a major part of the road.

Don’t worry, though. They are just everyday people who have taken up a love for the sport of cycling and are trying to find the best possible places around to enjoy this healthy hobby.

Cycling has obvious health benefits as well as mental, emotional and, for some people, spiritual benefits. Many citizens in the Arkadelphia area, including several Ouachita professors can be seen taking advantage of the cycling opportunities in Clark County.

Dr. Scott Duvall, professor of biblical studies, began cycling in the spring of 2008 after not being able to run due to knee issues. He said walking was not quite quenching his thirst for an active lifestyle.

“I got started, and then would start riding a little farther and farther,” he said. “I remember the day I rode from Cracker Barrel to the end of Skyline and back, it was 24 miles and I thought ‘I’m hooked.”

Like other sports and hobbies, cycling also encompasses an important social aspect.

“The thing I like about it is that you can have conversation and build relationships, unless you’re going super hard,” Duvall said.

One of the greatest aspects of cycling for Duvall has nothing to do with the physical aspect of life but rather every other area of life.

“It really helps you, especially on these shorter rides, you can just reflect and think well and work through issues,” he said. “I love the solitude aspect of it, because I will do some of my best praying on the bike.”

Dr. Bryan McKinney, dean of the Hickingbotham School of Business, is currently training for a marathon, but said that does not deemphasize the value of cycling for him.

“Getting out and seeing the country roads is one of my favorite aspects of cycling,” he said. “It’s a pressure release. You just go and come back and feel refreshed.

“I love riding with people, but I get very little time just with me. The solitude is kind of nice with being me and the road. I put my iPod and my music on and I just go.”

There is a special connection for McKinney with cycling at Ouachita, which dates back to the summer after his sophomore year as a college student.

“There’s just richness in experiencing something now that you experienced back in college and it feeling fresh again,” he said. “I love going out on these same country roads that I cycled in college and it’s just fun.”

Knowing the routes in advance and riding with some friends is one way for beginning riders to make the most out of their cycling experience.

“There are roads that are safe to ride and there roads that are not safe,” McKinney said. “There are certain routes that everybody who rides knows as you ride over that hill there’s going to be a big dog that’s going to chase you, so you need to know those sort of things.”

Dr. Doug Sonheim, professor of English and English department chair, transitioned into cycling after a lifetime of running, which included being a member of the cross-country team in high school and college.

“A real turning point for me with cycling was with one of the triathlons they have at the lake,” he said. “We had a faculty team where each one of us did one of the legs and I was the cyclist. I rode the 56 miles and we actually won our category.”

Sonheim also travels to Colorado every summer and has the opportunity to experience routes that some cyclists can only dream of doing.

“The scenery and the different terrain are very challenging,” he said. “I’ve done one multi-day ride where we rode for a week, averaging from 50 to 100 miles where we’d stop in a little town and camp at a high school.”

One day rides are also common for Sonheim in Colorado, which includes an event called the Triple Bypass, a 120-mile ride that includes three passes over 10,000 feet.

“The thing I enjoy about it other than the competition is the camaraderie,” Sonheim said. “I just love getting out with the guys in town, Dr. Duvall, and people in town not associated with OBU.”

There is no one way to live a healthy lifestyle, but cycling is just one of many hobbies to participate in as part of an active lifestyle. Being relatively easier on the knees than running, cycling is a sport that one can enjoy for years to come, for competition or simply for love of the game.

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