Faculty, students to bike 100 miles around campuses

Provost and Senior Vice President David Harris will lead the 2014 Tufts Century Ride on May 9, a 100-mile bike ride, open to the entire Tufts community, around the university’s three campuses.

As a devoted cyclist, Harris said he was inspired to bring the Tufts community together through a bike ride that would expose people to the university as a whole — the main campus in Medford and Somerville, the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Grafton and the health sciences schools in Boston — in a single outing.

“I figured it was 40 miles from here to the Grafton campus, and another 10 miles from here to the Boston campus,” Harris said. “So we could have a 100-mile route connecting all three campuses and make a Century Ride out of it.”

According to Harris, the inaugural ride was held in 2012, but the event went on hiatus last year. While its second edition will follow the original route — of which participants will be able to ride their choice of 20, 40, 80 and 100 miles — this year’s ride will not be limited to faculty members as it was in 2012. Instead, Tufts’ faculty, staff, students and alumni will be able to ride together, a quality Harris believes will turn this ride into a more inclusive and community-oriented event.

“It will be a great way to bring members of the Tufts community together in a way which too rarely occurs on campus,” Harris said. “Also, when you bike from here to Grafton, you experience the route in a really different way than you would if you were in a car.”

Sophomore Noah Epstein, co-captain of the Tufts Cycling Team, said that all of the members of the team, who will still be around the Boston area on May 9, will join Harris in this ride. Members of the cycling team, he said, will also serve as route marshals in order to tend to the needs of their fellow participants.

“We have a bunch of fairly experienced riders who know how to deal with bikes and with people getting tired,” he said. “So we’ll have a team of people helping the ride as it goes along.”

Epstein said he hopes the ride will help raise cross-school awareness about the cycling team. He also thanked Harris for his continued support of the cycling team throughout his tenure as provost.

“He comes along on a couple of our team rides during the year,” Esptein said. “He’s riding all the time as a form of exercise … and it brings legitimacy as a team to have such a high-profile member of the Tufts community [as a supporter.]”

Aliandro Brathwaite, who plans on completing a 20-mile portion of the route, said he is looking forward to the communal and athletic experience that the ride will offer.

“It will be interesting to see different generations of the Tufts community brought together for this ride,” Brathwaite, a senior, said. “Plus, it’s always nice to see parts of the region I haven’t visited before.”