College Park cyclist forms riding group, encourages beginners


Enrique Mercado with fellow cyclists on the inaugural Cool Cruisers ride July 13. ENRIQUE MERCADO

Enrique Mercado with fellow cyclists on the inaugural Cool Cruisers ride July 13. ENRIQUE MERCADO

Six years ago, Enrique Mercado fell in love with cycling and has since become a seasoned triathlete. Knowing so many of his neighbors were cooped up during the coronavirus pandemic, he formed Cool Cruisers of College Park to meet some of them while introducing a few to the sport for the first time.

“People are stuck inside, losing their minds. They need something to do to find joy; they need fresh air and to see their beautiful city,” he said.

Mercado sets out to educate riders in safety and basic cycling rules while following CDC guidelines for COVID-19 safety.

“Sports can be intimidating,” Mercado said. “I remember showing up to my first group ride not having a clue what I was doing. I wish I had someone to give me direction and show me the ins and outs of cycling.”

A few riders showed up for the first ride feeling a little nervous, but Mercado assured the group that this was intended to be a joyful ride at a pace everyone could maintain.

“Oh, my God. I’m so proud of myself,” said Stacey Clemmons, one of the riders, at the end of the first ride.

“She completed an 11-mile bike ride her first time out and had a blast. That gave me so much joy,” Mercado said.

For more information, join the Cool Cruisers of College Park group on Facebook.

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