The wheels are in motion to establish a dedicated road cycling club that would cater to local riders of all ages and ability levels.
The Whistler Cycling Club put out an appeal for founding members last month as the newly created board of directors looks to finalize the group’s structure and activities for the 2014 season.
“The goal of the club is to promote safe, inclusive recreational road cycling and club-related activities in Whistler and surrounding areas,” said the appeal to members.
Many of the club’s directors have been directly involved with the road riding activities of Team Whistler, a group of local cyclists that have been loosely focused on competition in both road and mountain biking. The new club would look to expand upon some of Team Whistler’s non-competitive initiatives, such as the Tuesday night road rides that have attracted both novice and highly experienced cyclists for group outings.
With the arrival of local events putting an emphasis on road cycling, such as the RBC GranFondo Whistler and Ironman Canada, the popularity of pedalling on pavement amongst both locals and tourists has taken off to the point where the Whistler Cycling Club has become a necessity, said treasurer Paul O’Mara.
“We realized that there are so many people starting cycling, but could be intimidated by the Team Whistler idea of going fast and being left behind without having a lot of fun,” he said. “The Whistler Cycling Club is an effort to extend the joy of road cycling to everybody, and right now ‘everybody’ includes so many new people to the sport.
“The genesis of forming a cycling club came from wanting people to have fun… make the road safer and be relaxed in a more social manner.”
The story of O’Mara’s own introduction to the sport isn’t unlike many in the resort who have picked it up over the past few years. A physiotherapist put O’Mara on a road bike following an injury four years ago, around the time the number of riders on the highway started to explode. Having not been a road rider since he was a kid, O’Mara said he “cautiously” started going out for Team Whistler’s Tuesday night rides but found an excellent group of other cyclists to connect with.
“There was a pretty enthusiastic group of athletes and the more I got into it, the more fun I had,” he said. “One of the reasons I had fun was because of people like Otto (Kamstra) and Tony (Routley) and people who took me under their wing… who mentored and coached us and brought us along.”
The club will look to expand upon the Tuesday rides by organizing weekend outings, women’s rides and introductory sessions for newcomers hoping to learn more.
Both Kamstra and Routley, who have been key organizers of the Tuesday rides, are involved with the new club as well. Frank Savage is serving as the club’s first president and Gary Baker is the vice-president.
Routley will also be focused on youth development, which is another initiative that O’Mara said the club hopes to grow locally.
Those purchasing a founding membership will help provide the club with an economic base to begin shaping future activities. Memberships cost $50 for the month of January, but the price may increase after that, so interested cyclists are encouraged to declare their interest early on.
Anyone seeking more information can contact O’Mara at firstname.lastname@example.org or any other executive member, while those interested in joining the club immediately can send a $50 e-transfer to Elizabeth Rogerson at email@example.com. Rogerson can also provide an address accepting personal cheques to cover membership fees.