KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The USA Cycling national cycling teams are made up of cyclists who fell in love with riding, and that love had to start somewhere. There is a local group of Black fraternity and sorority members looking to spread the love of cycling to communities that traditionally haven’t discovered the sport.

Sydney Upton is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She gets pumped just talking about cycling. “I just love nature, just riding, the nature. It just relieves all stress you’ve had. It’s just so soothing.  It’s just going with the wind. It’s just great.” Upton recently joined a local club, D9 Cycling. It’s a group dedicated to training members of the Divine 9, the nine historically Black Greek-letter sororities and fraternities, on the world of cycling.

“And that’s one of the reasons why I joined,” says Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. member Alacia Harper. “To fellowship with the members of the D9 cause even though I have been here for a while, I don’t get out much, so to meet people from other fraternities and sororities. Just to fellowship, to get to know them.” Riders include members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc.

They meet up at the Knoxville College campus, socialize, and get educated on the dos and don’ts of hitting the road.

“I think everybody knows in 2020 that cycling is the new golf, right? So if you’ve got a bike, it’s easy to network, it’s easy to get people out, so that’s what we’ve been trying to do,” says De’ossie Dingus of the Alliance House Community Coalition, who organized the cycling club.

“My bike mentor, he “drug” me through the fire; he literally “drug” me through the fire. A lot of the hills, I would have to say go ahead, I’m coming,” said Dingus. “It was an ER moment for me. It was rough, it was rough.” Dingus is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

For the first D9 Cycling ride, the crew road 22 miles. Each ride is getting a little easier. Their focus is to spread the love of riding to increase healthy exercise options in the black community.

“It’s great to see our people getting into exercise and getting fit, enjoying it and taking it up,” says Upton.

One member at a time, they are shifting gears to a healthier lifestyle.