Cana­dian Club

Fundrais­ing, rac­ing and re­mem­ber­ing

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - By Rob Stur­ney

Van­cou­ver’s Gas­town Cy­cling

Like Canada, the his­toric Gas­town sec­tion of down­town Van­cou­ver, one that grew from a sin­gle tav­ern founded by John “Gassy Jack” Deighton, cel­e­brates its 150th an­niver­sary this year. Gas­town Cy­cling was born in 2008. It was orig­i­nally called Ter­mi­nal City Cy­cling Club af­ter a Van­cou­ver club formed in 1892. Fol­low­ing a spell as Click Cy­cling, the club changed its name to Gas­town Cy­cling in 2012. Gas­town Cy­cling is com­posed of Van­cou­verites who love cy­cling and, as the club’s di­rec­tor Ser­gio Hsia puts it, ”em­brace the rich his­tory and cul­ture of the sport.” Hsia out­lines the club’s phi­los­o­phy: “It is ex­pected that all mem­bers rep­re­sent the club, its fel­low mem­bers and spon­sors with re­spect and in­tegrity both on and off the road. This means be­ing ac­tively in­volved in Van­cou­ver’s cy­cling com­mu­nity. We en­cour­age ev­ery­one to par­tic­i­pate in at least one char­ity ride per year.”

Since the club’s in­cep­tion, it has been fundrais­ing for cancer re­search mostly through the Ride to Con­quer Cancer, with more than $611,265 amassed in its first eight years. An­other favourite Gas­town Cy­cling char­ity ride is June’s Ro­tary Ride for Res­cue, a hill climb up Cy­press Moun­tain to sup­port North Shore Res­cue, an elite and busy ser­vice that has plucked hun­dreds of lost or in­jured hik­ers, bik­ers and snow en­thu­si­asts from peril.

Five years ago, the club formed a com­pet­i­tive squad, the Rac­ing Reds, of 14 Cat. 1 and 2 rac­ers who com­pete in road, track and cy­clocross. Not con­fined to their city stomp­ing grounds, the Rac­ing Reds can be spot­ted all over the south­ern half of Bri­tish Columbia par­tic­i­pat­ing in gran fon­dos, rid­ing the boards of the Burn­aby Velo­drome and fly­ing the flag at BC Su­per­week.

Sum­mer months see mem­bers of the 80-strong club meet on Satur­days at club spon­sor Who­ley Fit to take in laps around the Uni­ver­sity of Bri­tish Columbia cam­pus. Sun­days are for ven­tur­ing out to Bel­carra Park along the Bur­rard In­let or over to Bri­tan­nia Beach via the Sea-to-sky High­way. Chal­leng­ing rides up Cy­press Moun­tain or Mount Sey­mour are part of the club’s reg­u­lar train­ing jaunts.

Derek Ul­rich, a mem­ber of Gas­town Cy­cling’s board of di­rec­tors, de­scribes his ideal club ride as start­ing from Mi­lano Cof­fee Lounge on West 8th Av­enue near Columbia Street be­fore a roll through Stan­ley Park and Horse­shoe Bay to Porteau Cove and back. He says, “It’s got a bit of every­thing, and the stretch between Horse­shoe Bay to Lions Bay is one of my favourites.”

Through­out Van­cou­ver’s long, wet win­ters, team mem­bers keep sharp with spin classes, cy­clocross rid­ing or track cy­cling at the velo­drome, where Ul­rich is also a board mem­ber. Of the track, he says, “It’s where I do a lot of re­cruit­ment for the rac­ing team, as it’s a great place to meet new peo­ple.”

Trag­i­cally, last au­tumn the club lost a mem­ber who was hit by a ve­hi­cle. Brad Dean was on a ride in Rich­mond with Gas­town Cy­cling club­mates and

oth­ers. “Brad’s pass­ing has def­i­nitely made us more tight-knit,” Ul­rich says. The team has em­bla­zoned a memo­rial patch on its jersey this sea­son, dis­trib­uted a ded­i­ca­tory sticker and cre­ated a tro­phy for the top Ro­tary Ride for Res­cue fundraiser in Dean’s hon­our. Ul­rich adds that, along with a com­mem­o­ra­tive plaque at the Burn­aby Velo­drome, “Brad’s track bike has a per­ma­nent home at its spot un­der the track.”

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