DAVIDSON – Cycling isn’t just a form of transportation and exercise. It’s a great opportunity for social interaction for people with a common interest.

Kevin Elder, a senior designer at Ingersoll Rand’s headquarters in Davidson, has created a club called Mooresville Area Cyclists as a way to bring together road bicyclists in the Lake Norman area.

Elder and co-workers take bike rides around the streets of Davidson during their lunch hour as part of Ingersoll Rand’s “Health Progress” initiative.

Last year, they formed two 10-man groups through Ingersoll Rand to participate in the 2012 National Bike Challenge. The national event  tests groups to see how far they can bike in a five-month span from May 1 to Sept. 30.

Each participating team gets points based on how many miles they ride during the time period to determine how they stack up to other groups and companies. The challenge also aims at boosting commuter miles and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

After the 2012 competition, the group decided to gather some of the most active riders from each group to be more competitive for the 2013 National Bike Challenge campaign.

“From that, Mooresville Area Cyclists was born,” Elder said.

The group has seen a steady climb in participation.

By word of mouth and through the group's Facebook and website, Mooresville Area Cyclists has grown to 66 members.

“I joined the group to enjoy the sport with great friends, meet new people and be a part of a larger community of bike riders in the area,” said Jacob Grove, an engineer at Ingersoll Rand and one of the founding members of the group. “A big advantage of MAC is having so many people that you can connect with.  Having groups of riders always makes the rides more enjoyable and safer.”

Elder has gotten custom cycling kits made for the group, which included jerseys, shorts, gloves and t-shirts.

The club now has sponsors, including Cool Breeze Cyclery in Mooresville and the Charlotte Running Company, that give discounts to group members. Members receive 15 percent rewards on daily purchases on Cool Breeze’s Bike Bucks and Charlotte Running Company’s CRC Rewards.

Elder has created a Facebook fan page that people can “like” and get occasional updates of area cycling news or for information about upcoming events. The group’s website also provides helpful links to ride routes created with Google maps.

Beginning May 14, the club will host a group ride at 6 a.m. every Tuesday. They will leave from either the Lake Norman YMCA in Cornelius or the Lowe's YMCA in Mooresville, alternating weekly. A riding schedule is available by clicking the "Rides" tab on the club’s website.

Elder said as the Mooresville Area Cyclists continues to grow, he hopes to eventually be able to sponsor group charity fundraising events.

Want to know more?

Visit www.mooresvilleareacyclists.com for more information about the group.