Take a ride past the Cycling House


The Lafayette club cycling team races both casually and competitively. (Photo courtesy of Sebastian Wallach ’23)

Junior roommates Nathan Keller from outside Philadelphia, Sebastian Wallach from New York and Michael Gervase from Washington D.C. have something wheelie cool in common: cycling. But what really goes on in their house with three people and 17 bikes?

“We all came in as freshmen interested in riding, and kind of met each other through other friends. At the end of freshman year, we were looking for housing and we heard about the LLCs and thought that would be a great opportunity,” Keller said. “Especially with multiple bikes, it’s really hard to keep them all in your dorm room, so we thought if we could get a house that would be sweet.”

The LLCs, or Living Learning Communities, are college-owned off-campus houses in the Monroe Neighborhood. Here, students can apply to live in a house created around an identified theme.

Members of the Monroe community are required to host workshops or events that have to do with their theme. Wallach explained that the Cycling House holds maintenance events, repair days and adventure rides like bike packing 100 miles in West Virginia.

“We each came in with a different skill set and experiences,” Keller said. “All of us have worked in a bike shop at some point, but [Wallach] is the resident mountain bike guy, so he can help people out with that kind of stuff, [Gervase] and I are more on the road side, so we’re sharing knowledge, experiences, and tools with each other, but then also with other people coming in.”

The group applied to live together in the Monroe neighborhood at the end of their freshman year and moved in their sophomore year in 2020.

“This year is the first official year of the cycling team and club which operates under the Outdoor Society, so we put that together as well,” Keller said.

The Lafayette Outdoor Society is a Lafayette club interested in planning, organizing, and executing outdoor recreation trips.

“The Outdoor Society gets our budget for the cycling team and club, which applies to anyone who wants to ride bikes, and is in the society,” Wallach said, “Then we have our house budget, which is two hundred and fifty dollars a month that we can spend on events, but most of our tools and all of the bikes that we have are funded by us working at bike shops and getting sweet discounts on parts of bikes.”

The Lafayette club cycling team recently participated in the Easton Twilight Criterium Bike Race on Sept. 4, which was a closed route downtown. Keller placed second in the men’s novice race.

“I’m a big-time cyclist,” Wallach said. “Sometimes we ride bikes up to class, even though we don’t really need to because it’s such a tiny campus.”

“We have a bunch of other people on campus who ride and there is always someone knocking on the door asking for tools or asking for help with something, so there’s a lot of people gathering here a lot of the time for biking related reasons and otherwise,” Keller said.

Wallach explained that having the house is advantageous for connecting with other cyclists, both on and off the team.

“We just have bikes around and we’re always helping. A couple of days ago a freshman bought a bike and needed help building it, so he came down here and used our tools and our space and we helped him out,” Wallach said. “That’s our whole philosophy with the house.”

They said that as a club and a house, their overall goal is to network more in the community on campus as well as the Easton area.

“We saw people who we had always seen around campus on bikes but never met, so it was exactly what we wanted out of the house: to build a community of cyclists,” Wallach said.