By Savanah Bandy
Photo by Mandy Edmonson
For Sarah and Mitch Jarvis, cycling is all about having fun and spending time with friends.
“We bike mostly because we enjoy the company of other bikers, who tend to be a diverse, interesting, happy group of people,” Mitch said. “I mean, who can be grumpy while riding a bike?”
Sarah and Mitch first got into cycling about two years ago when they were encouraged by some friends to get started.
“I was reluctant to start at first because I thought it would be just one more expense we wouldn’t pay attention to,” Mitch said. “But these friends were knowledgeable and avid bikers, and they helped me get a bicycle that was properly fitted and had good components, and that was something I hadn’t experienced before. Having a properly fit bike made all the difference, and I was immediately hooked.”
Around that same time, Sarah became interested in participating in the annual Faithful Friends sprint triathlon held each April in Neosho.
“At the time, I knew I liked swimming and walking for exercise, but biking was something I hadn’t tried in a long time,” she said. “I borrowed a bike from a friend, and I quickly realized that’s what I wanted to be doing even more than walking and swimming.”
Sarah enjoys the Faithful Friends triathlon, but the couple’s ultimate motivation for cycling is the camaraderie. They are regular fixtures in the Beers and Gears Pub Club, a Neosho cycling group that meets each Friday at Indian Springs Brewing Company, 109 East Main Street in Neosho.
“It’s what’s called a ‘slow roll group,’ and that just means it’s social and not competitive or fast or demanding,” Mitch said. “It’s just a big, goofy, fun time.”
In addition to Friday nights, the couple rides a few times per week when the weather is nice, but they mostly keep their cycling routine pretty informal. And they never turn down an opportunity to party!
“Over Labor Day weekend, we went with our bike group up to Columbia (Missouri) and rode an event called The Pedaler’s Jamboree, which is an 80-mile bike ride over a couple days,” Mitch said. “There’s music and food along the way and a couple thousand people up there. It’s just this big, roving party, and everybody is good to each other and jokes around and it’s just fantastic.”
To a beginner, the Jarvises would say to get a good bike and keep it fun.
“I would tell them to ride within their ability and don’t feel like they have to get out and go 60 or 100 miles in one day,” Sarah said. “Just go out and do whatever is most fun for you so you don’t get burnt out.”
“I would add to not buy a bike from a big-box store,” said Mitch. “Having a bike from an actual bike shop that is good quality and properly fitted makes all the difference. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it is the thing that made me an enthusiast.”
See more photos in the November 2021 print edition of Show Me the Ozarks Magazine.