The feeling of the open road while driving a car is nothing compared to the same sensation from behind the handlebars of a motorcycle. Those who ride find there is no better sense of freedom than being liberated from the metal walls of a vehicle with the wind whipping past you.
Bikers find riding to be an individualistic leisure activity, as well as one that comes with a great sense of community. A staff member at the USF Alumni Association, Kevin Floyd is president of USF’s Bulls Biker Club and is looking to establish his organization as more of a co-ed fraternity.
“You have to be proud of where you’re from,” Floyd said. “Just like any other biker club or community they’re pretty passionate about whatever city they’re from and we’re from USF.”
This mentality has spread to other members of the club as well.
“It’s a nice sense of community with motorcyclists in general,” said Jon Gravenstreter, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering and treasurer of the club. “They don’t even have to own a motorcycle, they can just enjoy bikes. It’s nice to have that kind of similar interest and I think that’s what kind of brings motorcyclists together.”
The Bulls Biker Club appeared on campus in 2009, created by Justin Moses and Hamed Mizaei. The club’s main goal is to promote biker safety and awareness, not only at USF, but also around the Tampa Bay area.
“It’s not about looking cool,” Floyd said. “It’s about being safe.”
The club’s motto is, “All the gear, all the time.” They strive to have their members achieve top safety by riding in full gear, including a helmet, jacket, pants, gloves and closed-toe shoes.
The progress of the Bulls Biker Club can be widely seen across campus through their education of both riders and non-riders. Gravenstreter emphasizes the necessity to “look twice, save a life.”
“People won’t pay attention when they are changing lanes,” Granvenstreter said. “I’d say, every day I have at least one close encounter with a car.”
While the club often takes a serious focus, they do have a more adventurous side. The club functions on a member interest basis, and its members attend rallies and rides around Florida.
This past year they attended a Christmas in July Toy Run, Bike Week and Leesburg Bikefest. Upcoming events include Biketoberfest and a group ride to the USF vs. UCF football game.
Floyd said if this year’s ride to UCF is anything like rides in the past, it should be promising.
“Last year some of our members went out to the UCF game,” Floyd said. “They both rode Harleys and they pulled up next to where a bunch of UCF fans (were) hazing some Bulls fans that were there, and they pulled up on their Harleys, and they’re wearing all their Bulls stuff and the UCF fans just stopped.”
The Bulls Biker Club meets twice a month: once in the Marshall Student Center and once off campus. Room numbers and off-campus locations will be determined and posted on their Facebook page near each meeting’s date.