Before moving to Arkansas with his wife to pursue graduate school, Martial Trigeaud was a semi-professional cyclist in France.
While Trigeaud, now a business consultant with the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center, was thrilled with the beautiful trails and mountain biking opportunities in Arkansas, he was disappointed to find there was no competitive biking club at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
“A year ago, I was interested in racing at the cycling championship,” Trigeaud said. “They said I was eligible to race if I was a student at UA Little Rock, but we didn’t have a racing team at the university. I needed one in Little Rock.”
His desire to continue competitive cycling led Trigeaud to CARVE, a Central Arkansas cycling club based in Little Rock with a competitive racing team that Trigeaud manages as a team captain.
While cycling with other members of Team CARVE, Trigeaud met Ian Hadden, UA Little Rock director of energy management. The two cyclers wanted to share the joy of biking with the university community by starting a cycling club on campus.
“The nice thing about cycling is it doesn’t matter how old you are,” Hadden said. “You can ride a bike when you are 6 or when you are 86.”
The only qualifications to join the cycling club are an affiliation with the university and an interest in cycling. UA Little Rock students, faculty, staff, and alumni are all welcome to join. Membership in the club allows students to compete in cycling events through the South Central Collegiate Cycling Conference.
“The main idea behind the club is to give students interested in cycling an opportunity to compete at the collegiate level and to get them involved in an activity that is healthy and can provide them great networking in the Little Rock business community,” Hadden said.
Club membership is $50 and includes cycling shorts and club jerseys. After six months, the club has already attracted 40 members, which is far more than the five members the club’s co-founders originally expected, including Chancellor Andrew Rogerson and Janessa Rogerson.
Trigeaud and Hadden said that now is a great time to introduce the cycling culture to the UA Little Rock community. Trigeaud described cycling as the “new golf” and a great way to build great contacts.
Trigeaud even helped train former UA Little Rock employee Leah Thorvilson, who last year won a professional cycling contract with Canyon-SRAM after winning Zwift Academy, a talent search for female cyclists.
The recent decision to build the first phase of the Arkansas River Trail, a 65-mile bike trail between Little Rock and Hot Springs, is just another signal showcasing how important cycling is to the Central Arkansas region.
“The world of cycling has grown a lot over the past 5-10 years,” Trigeaud said. “We have a strong cycling community that continues to grow. There are CEOs of banks, business owners, doctors, lawyers, politicians, and all kind of folks engaged in cycling. We want to use the cycling club to build better connections between the university and the community.”
Future plans for the club include hosting community bike rides, starting a competitive cycling team for students on campus, and hosting a series of cycling races on the UA Little Rock campus.
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