Aaron Tubergen, 36, never expected to become a Memphian but found a home here through fatherhood and his cycling community. 

Aaron, a musician from Holland, Michigan, grew up enjoying bike riding and even won some bike races as a teenager. However, by age 16, Aaron had recognized his passion for playing the viola and dedicated most of his free time to pursuing music. He eventually graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music and moved around for work as a professional Concert Violist. 

Aaron moved to Memphis for a relationship, married in 2017, and his daughter was born in 2018. Aaron and his family moved back to Cleveland for a couple of years before returning to Memphis in early 2020. During his time in Cleveland, he remembered feeling stressed with work and thought back to the joy he found riding his bike as a kid, which prompted him to begin riding again. In Memphis, Aaron found himself cycling regularly. “As a musician during COVID, all of my work performing pretty much evaporated, and riding my bike became a great outlet to spend my new free time,” he remembers.

During the next few months of COVID with career uncertainty, a separation, a divorce, and learning his new role as a single dad to a toddler, Aaron continued to appreciate time spent on his bike as a way to spend time alone, or with his new cycling community. “Riding bikes is the best because if I want to be alone with my thoughts, I can ride for hours by myself. If I want to talk to a friend or be completely distracted, I can go on a group ride and find someone to turn to,” Aaron says.

What started as a hobby and distraction for Aaron has become a passion, and he has become fully immersed in the community of riding and racing here in Memphis. He is a Marx-Bensdorf and BPC Cycling Team member and frequently competes in, and sometimes wins, local and national bike races. Aaron is currently training for the Masters Nationals Road Race in Augusta, Georgia, this summer. Though his career as a musician is somewhat unconventional, his unique practice and performance schedule allow Aaron plenty of time to put hours in on his bike and spend as much time with his daughter as he can. 

It is instantly clear when speaking with Aaron how much he loves racing bikes, but it is unmistakable how much he lights up when speaking about time spent with his daughter. “Nothing beats being a dad and spending time with my daughter. Hanging out, reading, playing together — every day being a dad is the best day ever,” he says. 

Learn more about the Marx-Bensdorf / BPC Cycling racing team on Instagram @mb_bpc_cycling. 

By Zoe Harrison 

Photo by Tindall Stephens