Many students at RAHS pursue passions outside of engineering. Some, for instance, utilize the Pacific Northwest outdoors to mountain and dirt bike and to motorcycle.
Senior Carson Lobdell has had an interest riding mountain bikes since middle school, and considers it a major hobby. It was first introduced to him by his father, but he has taken it a step further as his interests peaked.
“I started mountain biking when I was about 6 years old because my dad had been mountain biking for about 20 years,” said Lobdell. “I picked it up mostly because of family, but by the time I was 12 years old, I was faster than my dad and better than my brother.”
Due to taking on various sponsorships, Lobdell has started taking mountain biking more seriously. A sponsorship will provide him some gear and money when representing their company at races.
“I started my first sponsorship from Salsa Industries back in my sophomore year. That summer I transferred to KTM Industries and biked with them until basically the start of 2017,” said Lobdell. “For this past year I’ve been riding for Ellsworth. They used to be a local Northwest company but now they[‘ve] moved down to California, so I represent them up here.”
After gaining a sponsorship, Lobdell started participating in more races and events, either required by the company or on his own time. He had, however, been racing proactively before gaining sponsorships.
“I haven’t had my first race this year. The first race is at the end of April, and after that I have a race pretty much every month,” said Lobdell. “Last season went really well, I took first place for my division in all but two races.”
Before going semi-professional in mountain biking, Lobdell started out dirt biking, but over time he has grown more inclined towards the classic biking method for its ease of access.
“I used to ride KTM dirt bikes actually — I started riding motorcycles when I was about four years old and I did that until I was about 13,” said Lobdell. “After that I started mountain biking hard, mostly because you can’t, especially in Washington, go as many places on a dirt bike as you can on a mountain bike [because of regulations].”
Besides mountain biking, other students have become invested in the quicker side of bikes such as senior Nathan Simmons, who enjoys riding motorcycles in his freetime.
“I ride street bikes, so I own a 2001 Honda CRF 80 100 Interceptor, Honda CRX Cruiser,” said Simmons. “Before I used to ride dirt bikes when I was younger, and my dad owned one that he never really rode, so it was already in the garage for me to ride.”
Similar to Lobdell, Simmons was first introduced to the hobby from family, and later turned his interest into a passion.
“I’ve always been prone to dirt biking and hiking and everything with a motor so it just went together,” said Simmons. “Now I have been riding street bikes for about a year [and] for the most part I spend a lot of that time out on the back roads doing some corners anywhere there aren’t too many cars — riding with friends and stuff.”
Simmons enjoys both riding and connecting with the community, taking a more casual approach to biking than Lobdell, and while he is not currently participating in any races, he plans on looking more into MotoGP tracks.
“I do plan on doing track days coming up this summer, I have absolutely considered doing MotoGP,” said Simmons. “A lot of the fun of [riding] comes from getting to know other people; it’s a very good community, everyone’s really friendly and you can just get on and find someone and just buddy up and hit a couple back roads and have some fun.”
Simmons hopes to continue to ride motorcycles as much as he can.
“I try to ride as much as I can,” said Simmons. “If it’s not too rainy I’ll go usually everyday after school and weekends when I don’t work. This past weekend was really nice and sunny so I was out for the morning Saturday and all day Sunday and all day Monday.”