11 BQ with the president of the LMU Bike Club

Sophomore marketing major Rob Watchmaker once flipped over a fire hydrant on his bike. His last name comes from his great grandparents, who were watchmakers in Armenia. 

This week, Asst. News Editor Sonja Bistranin sits down with LMU Bike Club President Rob Watchmaker about bike culture on campus and his awesome last name.

1. How old is the Bike Club?

The Bike Club is in its second year, and we first chartered the club last September.

2. How did the Bike Club start? What was the inspiration?

The club formed when I became friends with [sophomore art history major] Bo Hamby and [junior urban studies major] Geoff Tam at the beginning of last year, and we were all passionate about bikes. I love being able to develop the club with them and we make a terrific team. We really wanted to have a community of students to ride with and explore Los Angeles so we started the club to unify cyclists on campus.

3. What are the Bike Club’s goals?

Our club’s main goals are to explore the greater Los Angeles area from a different perspective, promote bike safety on campus and encourage healthy lifestyles.

4. What do you think of the current bike culture on campus?

I think that there has been a great increase of bikes on campus this year and it is great to see so many people riding around the community. So many students are looking for a cheap, convenient way to get around Westchester so hopefully the presence of bikes will continue to rise.

5. How did you learn to ride a bike? How old were you?

I first learned how to ride a bike in the church parking lot down the street from my house when I was 5 years old. I still remember the day vividly and it was a big moment getting off of training wheels.

6. Have you ever crashed? If so, what’s the worst crash you’ve gotten in?

I don’t crash too often but there have been many times where I have made the poor decision to go off curbs or around cars. Last year I was riding on Lincoln [Blvd] and wasn’t paying attention at all and I ended up flipping over a fire hydrant. I still have yellow paint from the fire hydrant on my bike to this day.

7. Have you ever had your bike stolen?

I have thankfully never had a bike stolen. It would be quite the damper on the day. I am pretty obsessive over my bikes; I really don’t like to have them spend the night outside so I keep my bikes in my dorm room.

8. What do people say about your last name?

Most people don’t believe it’s actually my last name; they think it is more of a nickname. My great grandparents were watchmakers in Armenia and we got the name on Ellis Island.

9. What’s your favorite part about riding a bike?

I am really drawn to the simplicity and freedom of riding a bike. It’s a great time to think and just focus on riding. I also really like to go to new places and discover what Los Angeles has to offer.

10. Where are some fun local areas to ride?

Some of my favorite places to ride to are Manhattan Beach and Santa Monica. There is a bike path that goes along the beach from Palos Verdes to Malibu that is really nice to cruise on with a big group of riders.

11. Will the Bike Club teach me how to ride a bike?

The Bike Club would love to teach you how to ride a bike. No training wheels necessary.

Sonja Bistranin is a mystery, according to the made-up world in her head. In the real world, she's an outgoing junior with a penchant for line dancing, petting other people's dogs and jamming out in her car to Christmas music year-round.

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