Cana­dian Club

Cel­e­brat­ing 50 years of big achieve­ments

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - by Tracey Green

Water­loo Cy­cling Club cel­e­brat­ing 50 years

In 1967, Cana­di­ans had a lot to be ex­cited about. The coun­try was cel­e­brat­ing the Cen­ten­nial across the na­tion, the Toronto Maple Leafs won their 13th (but last) Stan­ley Cup and Expo 67 in Mon­treal was be­com­ing one of the most suc­cess­ful world’s fairs in the 20th cen­tury. It was also the year the Water­loo Cy­cling Club was born. This year, it is cel­e­brat­ing its 50th an­niver­sary. Roy Conway, who had em­i­grated from the U.K. and raised a fam­ily in Canada, ended his 13-year hia­tus from com­pet­i­tive cy­cling and started the wcc with the hope of grow­ing the sport in his com­mu­nity. Conway made the club of­fi­cial in 1968 (with the Cana­dian Cy­cling As­so­ci­a­tion) and was able to get a group of young rid­ers to come out.

“Since com­pet­i­tive cy­cling was vir­tu­ally un­heard of by the youth of the day, it was a ma­jor achieve­ment that we per­suaded six or seven young­sters to get de­cent bikes and ride. We had sev­eral older rid­ers join, most of them hav­ing rid­den and raced in their coun­try of birth be­fore com­ing to Canada,” says Conway.

In the ’70s and ’80s, the club par­tic­i­pated in many or­ga­nized events and so­cial func­tions, with mem­ber­ship reach­ing 45 cy­clists. Now, that num­ber is al­most 500 strong. “We’re a club that gets peo­ple on bikes. We sup­port the Mil­ton velo­drome and kids’ rid­ing and what­ever else as long as it has two or three wheels, like hand­cy­cling, so it’s quite in­clu­sive,” says Alain Francq, wcc’s cur­rent pres­i­dent, who was awarded the On­tario Cy­cling As­so­ci­a­tion’s pres­i­dent’s award this past Novem­ber.

The wcc, along with a hand­ful of other cy­cling clubs, has been asked by the oca to de­velop a road cy­clist ride guide for all 100 oca clubs. Cur­rently in the works, the ride guide will value do­ing the right thing on your bike and com­mu­nity-minded lead­er­ship. “We try to nor­mal­ize a be­hav­iour on the road. I think we’re third in On­tario for road re­sults so we’re not a pas­sive club. We pro­duce the top cy­clists in this prov­ince. We have a ride guide that def­i­nitely teaches the art of the ride, but in a way that keeps peo­ple safe. I think that’s key,” says Francq.

The wcc is also the founder of the Hy­dro­cut Trail Sys­tem, which it man­ages in agree­ment with the Re­gion of Water­loo, that sees close to 40,000 users an­nu­ally. This net­work of 25 km of sin­gle­track fea­tures ar­moured walls, switch­backs, board­walks and bridges. “I got into cy­cling in 1991 on those trails when it was just a sin­gle line along the power line. We started build­ing trails off the side. We fol­lowed the imba prin­ci­ples and we have an in­cred­i­ble group of vol­un­teers to come to­gether to build,” says Francq.

At 50 years old, the wcc has a strong his­tory to cel­e­brate. With plans in the works to bring past cham­pi­ons back and host big rides, ideas are flow­ing about how they can not only com­mem­o­rate the longevity of the club, but show thanks to a com­mu­nity that al­lows them to be out there.

“It was a ma­jor achieve­ment that we per­suaded six or seven young­sters to get de­cent bikes and ride.”

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