news Member Spotlight : Oliver Neeley, Student Athlete
Oliver Neeley is our featured member of the month! Oliver is a sophomore at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley and an avid cyclist. He races for the Tam High Mountain Bike Team, as part of the NorCal High School Cycling League, and on the prestigious junior development road racing team – Team Swift. Recently Oliver sent out an open letter through the Nextdoor app encouraging all trail users to get along and respect each other. We reached out to Oliver to learn more about him and what cycling means to him.
What kind of bicycle(s) do you ride?
I currently ride a Lynskey Pro29 Titanium hardtail mountain bike and a Bianchi Oltre XR2 road bike.
What do you like best about riding?
There are a lot of things that I love about cycling. I love how freeing of a sport it is. During summer, I can sometimes spend up to 8 or 9 hours riding by myself or with friends. It’s a cool feeling to be completely self-supported miles away from home. Climbing is my specialty and I enjoy pushing myself to my absolute limits on climbs in an attempt to set record times. I love the feeling of satisfaction cycling gives me when I ride hard.
How did you get into riding?
I first started riding as soon as I could walk, with my dad, mom, and older brother. We would ride in Tennessee Valley and out to the beach. My dad taught my brother and me all the important things about bike handling at a young age, and most importantly, to get up and hop back on our bikes when we fall. Later, in middle school, I started riding with coach Emile Mulholland of the MVMS mountain bike team. While riding at MVMS and at Emile’s summer camps, I truly fell in love with cycling, and more specifically racing.
What do you like best about racing?
For starters, I love the racing environment. People come hundreds of miles to little towns in the middle of nowhere to race. I love meeting new people and the challenge racing new people offers. I love the satisfaction of placing well in a race after working hard. Lastly, I enjoy the strategy that goes specifically into road racing; optimizing corners so that I gain speed on them, when to attack, where to position myself and teammates in the peloton for the sprint, etc.
Where is your favorite place to ride your bike?
I’ve done a fair amount of road riding up in Sebastopol and Santa Rosa and I must say it is some of the best riding out there. The people are friendly and the roads are beautiful. I also raced Downieville last summer and that was some of the best singletrack I’ve ever ridden.
What is your favorite ride/route in Marin County?
On my mountain bike I love to ride the Bolinas Ridge Trail out to McCurdy then down to Olema and out to Inverness. My favorite trails are those off of Mt. Vision like the Inverness Ridge Trail. On my road bike, I love riding out to Tomales Beach through Chileno Valley then back along the coast, making sure to climb out to Limantour Beach on the way back.
How do you think bike riding could be improved in Marin County?
There are a few ways in which bike riding could be improved in Marin County. For starters, hikers, equestrians, and cyclists could choose to be more respectful to each other while on the trails. Then, I believe more trails should be opened to mountain bikers. Lastly, I think we should paint our bike lanes green like they are in the city. Specifically all the way down Miller Avenue, and on Panoramic up to Four Corners.