Chickasaw citizen Steve Paniagua is the president of the Chickasaw Cycling Club, an organization of riders that welcomes cyclists of all skill levels and backgrounds. The club's philosophy is to tackle every steep slope, narrow ridge and unexpected obstacle that crosses their paths.
Paniagua, a retired schoolteacher, says that finding out he was diabetic didn’t stop him from pursuing his passion: "Sometimes I say to myself, 'There are millions and millions riding right now, and they're not pulling over. So, Steve, you've got to keep going.'" His biggest competitor, he says, is himself.
The Chickasaw Cycling Club participates in rides across the country, from Kansas and Texas to Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado. A favorite local ride, the Pontotoc Pursuit Bicycle Ride, takes place annually in the rolling hills of Chickasaw Country. It's a time for Chickasaw citizens and others to appreciate the beauty of their natural surroundings.
"On a bicycle, I feel that there's a freedom I don't have anywhere else," Paniagua said.