By Roxanne Fleischer
Biking is like meditation for Joseph Farran, a senior at McDaniel College. He claims he has watched the Tour de France since he was two years old, while most of us were probably watching Sesame Street.
While Farran is a studio and graphics art major with an art history minor, biking is the one thing that he says, “has been driven into my head since I was little.” This passion for biking has been passed on to Farran; his father has been riding since the 1960s and has a collection of at least 18 bikes in the basement of their house. Farran teams up annually with his father, uncle, and cousin for the Seagull Century, held in Salisbury, Maryland each fall. Farran has participated in this 100 mile bike ride that he describes as both scenic and challenging, almost every year since 1993. Though 100 miles might seem like a long time to be on a bike, Farran says that he has actually rode on a bike for 140 miles in one day.
In addition to the long distance rides, Farran has also participated in a few races. In 1999, he was the division 5A Maryland State Criterium champion. The race was 15 miles long and was held on a closed loop. Though he hasn’t won any races since, Farran is still in continual training, riding at least four times a week, including a 20 mile ride on the hilly roads near his home in Frederick, Maryland, and the weekly group ride with the cycling club at McDaniel.
Every Friday at 4:15, the McDaniel cycling club meets at Big Baker and goes on training rides, with a few hard hills. Farran, as president of the club, says that there are about four students and four faculty members involved, but the club, only in its second year, is looking to expand. “Just show up with a bike and a helmet” says Farran to anyone who wants to ride at the meetings.
“The rides [with the club] are mostly social rides; it’s nice to chitchat. We are not intimidating,” Farran says. The club leaves from Big Baker and makes a loop to places like New Windsor, or Taneytown, or even Hanover and back to the college.
On the weekend of September 15, however, the club rode for a good cause in coalition with the Maryland State Wine Festival. The club raised $260 for the American Lung Association of Maryland to help children in Maryland with Asthma. The bike tour began and concluded at the Carroll County Agricultural Center and the riders got back in time to enjoy the Wine Festival.
The biking keeps all the members of the club in shape, but for Farran, it’s the challenge and sheer enjoyment that keeps him at it.
Hopefully, no matter where Farran’s future takes him, his bike and his passion for cycling will go with him.