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.