The Regulators cycling group finds fun, fitness and “family” on the road | Subway

FLOURISHING – Regulators ride hard, so try to keep up.

But becoming a member of the North St. Louis County Cycling Group — which has a roster of about 40 active riders and several dozen casual riders — is relatively easy.

All you need are three things: a bike, a desire to stay in shape and a penchant for talking about cycling.

“I’ve never been around such a nice group of people,” said Arsenia “AJ” Burnett, who has worked with regulators since 2019. “They just took me under their wing.”

The club’s combination of friendliness to strangers and commitment to cycling spreads from top to bottom, thanks to the club’s founders.

Regulators were created by a trio that could be considered the pied piper of pedaling – Gerald Lyles and twin brothers Lamarr and Lamont Gordon.

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Ted Williamson, left, and Lamont Gordon lead the “B” group of runners down North Hanley Road during a Regulators ride in Berkeley on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. Photo by Colter Peterson, [email protected]

Colter Peterson

Rest Stop 1: The club is not named after North Carolina rebels who fought colonial officials before the American Revolution; it comes from the 1994 rap/hip-hop classic “Regulate” by Warren G. and Nate Dogg.

Lamont Gordon said when the three started turning 40, they realized their days of playing basketball or baseball to stay in shape were fading in their rear-view mirrors.

“I guess it was around 2013 or 2014, and we wanted to find a sport that we could do to get healthier and stay fit,” he said.

The club’s beginnings were simple, with the three packing up their hybrid bikes and heading to the MCT Trails in Madison County, Illinois.

“The first thing we noticed once we got out was everyone was passing us,” Gordon said with a laugh. “So we ditched hybrids and bought road bikes.”

Rest Stop 2: Road bikes are different from hybrids in that they are not designed to run off the pavement. The tires are thinner, the frames are lighter, the seats are narrower, they go faster and the price is higher. A new road bike will cost you $1,200, and probably more.

So with newer and faster bikes, the three started riding even more. And the more they drove, the more they talked about the club.

Regulators encourage community through cycling

Group “B” begins to fan out after stopping to regroup after a large hill during a Regulators ride in Berkeley on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. Photo by Colter Peterson, [email protected]

Colter Peterson

Now don’t be surprised to see six or 15 members of the Regulators – in their vibrant blue and gold “kits” (cycling clothes) – at any major ride, like Ride the Rivers, Riding for the Cure, or the Donut Tower and Corn Tower.

And in those early days, they brought together Angela Jason from Hazelwood, who had just battled breast cancer and met the trio while on a cancer fundraising run.

“Right away it made the drill fun,” said Jason, who is the unofficial head of the club’s women’s division, which makes up about half of the total squad.

Regulators encourage community through cycling

Cherita Lashley, front, and Stephanie Hester hug before a Regulators ride to Florissant on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. Photo by Colter Peterson, [email protected]

Colter Peterson

“And then we all became like a family, a community. We would go for rides together and then hang out afterwards and talk about biking and biking,” Jason said, noting that cyclists crave that kind of support.

“Riders can talk about bikes forever,” Jason said. “But people who don’t ride get tired of it pretty quickly.”

One of the biggest positive factors in the growth of the club, strange as it may seem, was the COVID-19 pandemic which emerged in the United States in the spring of 2020.

“My gym was closed and I couldn’t go there to exercise,” said Mark Lucas, a retired Veterans Administration detective from O’Fallon, Missouri.

“I knew Lamont from church and he invited me to ride with them,” said Lucas, who now regularly attends club outings on Tuesday nights.

And now? “And now I’m addicted to horseback riding,” Lucas said.

The Tuesday stroll is the best introduction to the club. From Parc Saint-Ferdinand in Florissant, the club runs a 16-mile course that runs along the streets of Florissant and Hazelwood. It is usually split into two groups, with one group taking a more difficult route, which basically means more hills.

Rest Stop 3: According to a People For Bikes survey, 44% of respondents said they were cycling more after the pandemic hit; and 4% of the total US population started riding for the first time in years. The study noted that new runners were more motivated by the socialization it offers.

But back to Burnett, who first met regulators three years ago near Forest Park, when she was in her car.

“I was on Clayton Avenue, heading towards Skinker near the Hi-Pointe Theater, and saw this bunch of runners flying up to Clayton,” Burnett said. “And I was like, ‘Who are these guys?'”

She met them at a red light and yelled at them.

“I mean, I had a bike. But I certainly didn’t ride it like them. Watching them go up that hill was awesome,” Burnett said.

Burnett gave his number to Lyles, the club president, who asked Jason to call him and invite him for a ride on Tuesday.

Regulators encourage community through cycling

Regulators Chairman Gerald Lyles, left, and Cornelius Bowe chat before a Regulators group ride in Florissant on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

Colter Peterson, post expedition

“The first thing I realized, even though I mostly followed them on a Schwinn, was that I needed a new bike,” Burnett said.

But the club didn’t leave her alone to do so, Burnett said she speaks regularly with Lyles about potential bikes to buy and what kind of accessories she needs. And while she was deciding on a purchase, Burnett said Jason lent her one of his road bikes until she bought hers.

Along with the budding friendships, Burnett said the club’s veteran members were also keen to pass on riding strategies and explain rules of the road, bike etiquette and safety.

“I mean these people didn’t even know me and they were just helping me out like that,” Burnett recalled thinking. “I just couldn’t believe it.”

So for all the serious torment and grinding Regulators routinely indulge in, and for all the words that could be written about them, the club is best described by their simple motto:

“We don’t finish until we’re all done.”

Posted at 6:30 a.m. Friday, July 15.

Regulators encourage community through cycling

The president of the regulators Gerald Lyles wears a jersey with the group’s motto on it before a group ride in Florissant on Tuesday May 24, 2022.

Colter Peterson, post expedition

Maria R. Newman