March Spokesperson

In this issue:

President's Message

So here we are in March – longer days, thoughts of getting the road bikes out of the basement, renewing our OBC memberships …  spring is around the corner!

Membership Renewal

First order of business – if you haven’t already done so, please renew your OBC membership.  Planned activities for the 2020 cycling calendar are well advanced, but we need to have a fairly solid idea of available funds. Our budget for 2020, which will be posted in the members-only area of the website, is in balance, but we do need your memberships to ensure that actually happens!  Apart from access to many great OBC cycling programs, membership gives you discounts at many local bike shops, Ride with GPS, and OCA insurance for your rides with the club.  The cost of your membership is about the cost of lunch in a good Ottawa restaurant these days.  Just saying!

Sunday Rides

Speaking of cycling programs, we’re going to restructure the Sunday rides this season to better reflect the changing expectations of most members.  In the past, many members planned almost the entire day to ride, so we offered ride options well over 100 Km.  We’re finding now that most prefer shorter distances, for a variety of reasons, or simply because they have other competing activities and priorities.  Consequently we’re going to post two ride distances on the Sunday calendar, one at the entry level, and the other in the 70 to 90 Km range.  Both will be on Ride with GPS, as in previous years.  

For those who want a longer distance, there will be longer rides in our Ride with GPS library, and a Group leader who wishes to lead one of those longer rides can post them on our on-line calendar for other members to sign up.  They can do a co-start with the Sunday calendar rides, or choose another time.  One might ask why not just call up a few friends and go riding, which is always an option, but organizers should consider that the OBC assumes liability and provides insurance coverage for posted rides, while the liability falls to the organizer for rides that are not posted through the Club.  Guidance on how to post rides will be provided at the Group Leaders’ meeting in March, and via email at a later date.

Finally, please note that a coordinator is still needed for Sunday rides.  Historically this was a Director/Board position, but the Sunday coordinator need not be a board member as long as they’re willing to manage the scheduled events and the other volunteers.


In other news, Emily Graves, the Club Secretary and member of the OBC Executive, has taken the initiative to gather views and formulate a position on advocacy.  She’ll be surveying members for their views over the next few weeks.  Emily has a track record of consultation and facilitation, and will ensure we come up with a consensus position on issues relevant to the public cycling conversation.

Last word: Rideau Lakes is now open for registration – sign up!  Or if you’re not riding, volunteer!

Yours in safe cycling -
Scott McDougall
President, OBC

Youth Program Update  

It is now March…it is snowy, it is cold…BUT! Spring is almost here and soon we will back on our road and gravel bikes. Hard to believe the road season kicks off in only a few short weeks! 

Registration Open

Registration is now open. Our program, delivered by dedicated coaches and volunteers, introduces young riders (typically 5-18 years of age) to cycling (road, track and cyclocross) and develops their skills in a supportive, friendly, and fun environment. Please visit the Youth Program pages on the OBC website for details and registration information.

Are you new to the program in 2020? A Parent Information Night is scheduled for on Wednesday April 8th, 7pm to 9pm, at the Hintonburg Community Centre, 1064 Wellington Street W, Ottawa. In addition, to help make sure your child’s bike is ready for the season ahead; we are hosting a free bike check at the OBC office on April 11th anytime between 1-4pm. This is also a great opportunity to ask questions about the program and try-on/purchase OBC clothing for the season ahead.

Track Racing

While road season may not have started yet, the OBC Youth Racing Program is having success on the Track!

Congratulations to Kyle Fyfe, a first-year Junior, on winning his first-ever OCA O-Cup medals during the Eastern Track Challenge at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre! Kyle grabbed a Bronze in the Elimination Race, and a Silver in the Keirin, both in the Men’s C category.

In the Elimination race, a mass start event, there is a sprint every 2 laps, and the last rider across the line is eliminated.  It requires exceptional tactics, positioning and bike handling to do well... Kyle demonstrated how it is done, controlling the race, and quickly regaining his position in the peloton whenever he lost it. A couple of riders repeatedly tried to box him in, but Kyle was having none of it, dealing with the close riding and shoulder bumping with confidence and poise.

The Keirin is a sprint event paced by a motorbike. Six riders ride behind the bike in a fixed order determined by a random draw, with the speed increasing to 50KPH over 3 laps. The motorbike pulls off the track and, and the riders sprint the remaining 3 laps, with the speeds reaching 60KPH in Kyle’s category, in fast, tight, tactical racing. Kyle made it to the Keirin final by winning both his heats, never relinquishing the lead. In the final, he was nipped at the line by 6 one-hundredths of a second.
This is Kyle's first racing since a fall on a training ride last summer put him in the hospital with a bad concussion and seizures and kept him off the bike for 6 months. Congratulations Kyle!

Coach Profile

This month we would like to highlight the lead coach of our Train-to-train group (riders 13-18 years of age). 

Name: Stephen Daniels

Role with the OBC Youth Program: T2T Lead Coach

Years Cycling: As long as I can remember

Years with the OBC: About 5 years in the 1980’s-90’s and 5 years recently

Other Sports or Hobbies You Enjoy: Cross-country skiing, running, hiking, paddling - virtually any self-propelled activity that gets me outside. I also play banjo and guitar (but not well).

What motivates you to ride: Cycling has always been a central part of my life. City riding and bike commuting get me where I want to go quickly and reliably while helping keep me fit, relaxed, and better able to handle the challenges of any day. Family bike trips have provided endless stories and memories. Training and competition provide me with a sense of focus and goals for improvement. For me, cycling is one the best ways to spend time with my family and friends (especially my kids) and I think there is hardly a day that can’t be made better by being on a bike. 

Favourite moment on the bike: Rideau Lakes 1989, age 15, when a high-school friend and I hammered the whole the Sportif 220km route. It was a real assertion of independence and a huge feeling of accomplishment. One of those stepping-stone experiences that you can build off for years to come.

Hardest moment on the bike: Notwithstanding all the times I have bonked, been frozen to the core, lost skin, or limped home with a broken bike, I’d have to say riding road slicks on ice is the hardest thing.

Favourite thing about being an OBC Youth Coach: Having a chance to help young people become lifelong cyclists – however they choose to define that – and to be part of a community of parents, kids and coaches who enjoy riding bikes.

Alumni Update

This month, an update on three former youth program riders who are working towards representing Canada in track cycling at this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo – Ariane Bonhomme, Derek Gee, and Vincent d’Haitre. An important step towards that goal is having recently been selected by Cycling Canada to represent our country at the 2020 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Berlin from February 26 to March 1, which marks the end of the qualification period for Olympic team selection.  We wish them the very best! 

RLCT Update

Registration is well underway for the 49th annual Tour!  Don’t forget that the deadline to sign up as a Tour Marshal is March 31st. The mandatory training session is being held on April 8th at Mill Street Brew Pub. If you are unable to attend but still want to be a Marshal, please contact Keri at - she is making a list and will open up a second session as needed (although it probably won’t be at Mill Street). 
We have filled about half of the Volunteer roles - so there are still plenty of opportunities for you to participate in the Tour in a very helpful and meaningful way including Perth luggage truck driver; putting up and taking down route signs; SAG vehicle drivers; Algonquin and Perth Tour Kit Pickup on Saturday morning; and Queen’s Check-in on Saturday (big perks to Queen’s volunteers such as dinner, beer, accommodation, breakfast, and mileage - oh my!). All volunteers are compensated for mileage and food and are treated to a great dinner, gifts, and donated prizes from sponsors such as breweries, coffee roasters, and beer suppliers. 
2020 Tour Updates: 

Your RL Committee has been hard at work creating new scenic, safe cycling routes; this year we are happy to introduce a new twist to the stalwart (supported) Century Route ... the Century Plus ... An additional 10kms has been added to this long-running route to ensure cyclists' safety!

Our shortest Tour option has grown by ten kilometres from 2019 for safety reasons. The 110km 'Century Plus' now goes through Rideau Ferry showcasing Lower Rideau and Big Rideau Lakes. We think riders will enjoy these better, safer roads for a back-to-back metric century - plus 10km. It's a great introduction to the Rideau Lakes Cycling Tour and now includes picturesque Rideau Ferry and the wonderful hospitality of the churches in Toledo. This route begins and ends at the Perth Conlon Farm Recreation Complex with plenty of free parking. MORE DETAILS AND MAPS TO COME!

The Rideau Lakes Committee has updated the Tour Code of Conduct; please read the new RLCT Code of Conduct with a view to respect and courtesy during your safe and fun Tour.

Sri Lanka from Tip to Tail - a Bicycle Adventure  

Join us at the next social on March 18 at the Naval Officers Mess, 78 Lisgar St., for a virtual journey by bicycle through rural Sri Lanka, with a photo presentation by Bill Bourne. We'll travel from Point Pedro, the northernmost tip, to the Dondra lighthouse, the southernmost point. Our tour starts in the bird lagoons and rice fields of the Tamil homeland around Jaffna in the far north. We continue into the Cultural Triangle, with its ancient temples and city ruins. Then it's on to the tea hills, where the spectacular scenery is an effective distraction from the steep category 1 climbs. What goes up must come down... and we descend through eucalyptus forests and spice farms and head to the beaches of the south coast. Along the way, we'll meet the people, sample the roadside food and drink, and see some wildlife.

Come Watch the Classic this Spring and Support Youth Cycling in Ottawa!

Rather than finding a dodgy stream that will inevitably cut out at the least opportune moment, come join OBC member Mark Manners who will be hosting a Classics viewing party at The Movement Co. Instead of paying a service provider to watch the races, all participants are welcome to donate whatever they can to support this initiative. All proceeds will go to the OBC Youth & Junior team and Ride with Rendall Development Program.

First up Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne!

Sunday March 1st
6 pm
The Movement Co.
99 Fourth Ave, Ottawa, ON K1S 2L1

See you there!

UCI Chrono Féminin de la Gatineau

Ottawa Bicycle Club Will Present Time Trial at UCI Chrono Féminin de la Gatineau – June 5th, 2020. We Need Volunteers to Run this Event

The UCI women’s race in Gatineau was going to be cancelled this year until a local group of organizers came together to save the event. The group, spearheaded by John Large of West of Quebec Wheelers and Doug Corner of the OBC and Bike Race Ottawa, is pretty much the same group who organized the successful National Road Championships in the capital in 2016 & 2017.

Tour de Gatineau

The Tour de Gatineau will consist of two UCI-sanctioned events: a road race starting and finishing at the British Hotel in Aylmer on Thursday, June 4th and a time trial the next day. 

The OBC`s Role

The time trial, officially named the “Chrono Féminin de la Gatineau” will be presented by the Ottawa Bicycle Club and will take place on Friday, June 5th in the Gatineau Park. It will start and finish at the visitors’ centre at Blvd Gamelin and turn around at Black Lake for a distance of 26 km. With approximately 40 elite women scheduled to ride, this will be a considerably easier event to manage than the Nationals, which had over 200 riders at three different distances.

The race will start at noon and be finished by 1:30, which will make a much shorter day for all the volunteers. In addition to the pleasure of helping these elite athletes compete here in our home territory, all volunteers will be invited to the closing party at the British Hotel on Friday evening in Aylmer.

This is still in the planning stages, so keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to volunteer.

Vermont Tour – Brandon à la carte from July 31st to August 9th

We’re going to do the Vermont Tour the same as last year: a pick-your-own-dates drop-in tour. This flexible arrangement allowed more members last year to enjoy this unparalleled cycling destination. For more information, read my recap of last year’s tour later in the newsletter.

The Inn

Brandon Inn on the town square of Brandon has proven to be a popular host for this tour every year since we discovered it in 2014. It’s a four-hour drive from Ottawa to this big, old, comfortable inn with the lowest prices in New England and the best, most varied cycling in the state.

D:\Photos\2014\Vermont\Brandon Inn.jpg

You Book Your Stay with the Inn

Once again this year, you deal directly with the inn; book whatever nights you want. The organizer will be there to co-ordinate the rides with maps and route suggestions, but you pay the inn, not the club. We will ask that you notify the club office of the dates you are joining us, so we can include you in our plans.
Here are the rates in US dollars (including %10 tax) that Brandon is offering us:

Double Occupancy

Bed and Breakfast: $75 per person per night based on 3 night stay. $70.50 per person per night based on more than 3 night stay.

Single Occupancy

Bed and Breakfast: $108 per person per night based on 3 night stay. $102 per person per night based on more than 3 night stay.

Children 5 to 12 years old

Cost per night, including full breakfast, to share a room with 2 or more adults: $13.20.



There are several restaurants in the area worth a visit. The inn has a good dining room and will provide dinner for a group of 16 or more any night - 3 courses with 3 entrees, coffee and tea (including 10% tax and 18% tip) for $40.00 per person.

The Rides

I always get skeptical queries about the riding in Vermont; lots of riders seem to doubt my claim that almost all our members can manage the terrain here. If you can enjoy a ride in the Gatineau park, I promise you that you will have no problem in Vermont.

D:\Photos\2014\Vermont\Windsor covered bridge.png

We have more than a dozen rides from Brandon Inn, ranging from a child-friendly 36 km around the beautiful Lake Dunmore to a 140 km challenge with 1,837 m of climbing, one of the organizer’s favourite rides of all time. The roads in the Brandon area are in pretty good shape – and are generally quiet; the heavy traffic of the Burlington area is nowhere to be seen here. The terrain is gently rolling to mountainous; if you want long, steep climbs, they are waiting for you, but you can avoid them if you prefer. And there are no straight roads to be found; if you consider the outlying Ottawa countryside just the slightest bit on the boring side, you will be delighted with the cycling around Brandon.
If you plan to drop in for a day or two, we suggest contacting the organizer in advance to see if your ride of choice can be put on the schedule for that day.


What Is There Besides Cycling?

When we aren't riding, there are plenty of other attractions to keep us entertained. Brandon is not a big city, but it has a grocery store, a general store, a drug store, an ice cream shop, library, book store, gift and clothing shops, a hardware store, and two breweries within walking distance of the inn.
The breweries, wineries, and a cidery all offer tastings; the Middlebury Tasting Trail includes seven producers of beer, wine, cider, and spirits within a few kilometers.

There are a couple of churches, a museum, a music and arts centre, and a bakery/gourmet foods store.
There is a summer-long free concert series in Brandon on Wednesday evenings and last year we took in a lively jazz concert hosted by the Brandon Inn.

If you want to know more, check out the Brandon town website,, that does a nice job of promoting the area.

The Land of Trump

Sadly, many of my friends tell me they won’t travel to the US while Donald Trump is president. That is your choice, but you should know that only Hawaii gave a smaller percentage of its votes to Trump in the 2016 election. Even California at 31.6% was more enthusiastic about the big red-head than Vermont with its 30.2%! 

Bob Hicks, Vermont tour organizer

Vermont 2019 Review

The unusual format of the tour this year, no fixed dates with sign-up and payment directly to the Brandon Inn rather than the OBC, which I confess left me with mixed feelings, turned out to work very well for this tour. In all, there were about 25 of us at one time or another from August 2nd to the 11th. A few found themselves a bit alone on the tail ends of the schedule, but several of us were able to attend for a few days mid-week who would not have been able to make it for either the weekend or the full Monday-Sunday inn trip that we have always organized in the past.

The Riding
I received quite a few questions from members, who either had not read my pre-tour promotion or didn't believe me, asking whether they would be able to cope with the difficult Vermont terrain. While it's true that there are some long, difficult climbs over the spine of mountain that runs from north to south the length of the state, far more of the routes were on rolling terrain that was manageable and fun for even the weakest of our riders.

The famous marble bridge in Procter, VT

I did six different rides while in Brandon, with a different group each ride, all picturesque, all fun.

On the way to Lake Hortonia

One feature of cycling in Vermont that makes it unlike any place else we ride is the number of small towns along the way, with general stores, bakeries, and restaurants. We were able to stop for lunch, more or less halfway on every ride.

The Cafe in Rochester

And don't forget the covered bridges; there are a dozen in the area.

What If You Don't Know Anyone or You're Not Very Fast?

Let's face it, for many riders, this is the number one reason they don't go. There have been tours not so many years ago when we had over a hundred riders and it wasn't hard to sort out groups for every level of ability and interest. When the numbers are smaller, as they are trending lately, finding a compatible group can be challenging. If you're a touring one rider, you're not likely to enjoy a ride with a bunch of extra-sportifs going flat out.

That's partly the reason for this recap of the 2019 tour; attracting more participants is not a guarantee, but it helps to ensure a better tour for everyone, including the new members and the easy rollers. Another reason is to reconsider the notion of what it means to be a club rider. The fact is, those extra-sportifs need rest days like everyone else and, with a little planning and compromise, they can enjoy a touring one ride. Believe me, I do it and it is no sacrifice.

As I say every year to the Advanced Skills Clinic, being a good bike rider is not particularly about going fast, but about knowing how to manoeuver a bike smoothly and safely in a group. Every cyclist can learn a lot from mixing with riders of different levels.


The inn has a swimming pool with large patio, tables and chairs, where we tended to gather after our rides before dinner.


As part of its accommodation package, the Brandon Inn offers a buffet breakfast with fruit, eggs, bacon, sausage, porridge, pancakes/waffles/french toast, real maple syrup, all kinds of bread, jams, coffee, and juice. Everyone thinks it's great.

Cafe Provence

The town of Brandon, astonishingly, has a successful French restaurant, the Cafe Provence, which has thrived in the town for over 20 years. It was our most popular dinner destination, but the inn will also serve quite a nice dinner if enough people ask for it. There are a few other restaurants in town and most of us had at least one meal at one of the restaurants in Middlebury, a beautiful college town 25 km north.

Mountain Biking

It's not Kingdom Trails, but there is lots of mt biking in the area, including Killington. The innkeeper is a keen mt biker and will gladly offer tips on where to go.

What Is There Besides Cycling?

When we weren't riding, there were other attractions to keep us entertained. Brandon is not a big city, but it has a grocery store, a general store, a drug store, an ice cream shop, library, book store, gift and clothing shops, and a hardware store.

Breweries, wineries, and a cidery all offer tastings; the Middlebury Tasting Trail includes seven producers of beer, wine, cider, and spirits within a few kilometers.

There are a couple of churches, a museum, a music and arts centre, and a bakery/gourmet foods store.

On Wednesday evening, we were treated to a free, live jazz concert, part of a summer-long free concert series in Brandon.

Finally, my wife and I enjoy live theatre, so we took a day off and drove down to Williamstown, MA to catch a couple of plays at their theatre festival. There was a reception after the evening show and I’m pleased to report that I am now close personal friends with Uma Thurman and Dylan Baker.

Bob Hicks, Vermont tour organizer

Gravel Cup Canada 2020

The Gravel Cup is a gravel cycling series open to both recreational and competitive cyclists. Taking place in a gravel cycling mecca, the routes take riders on primarily gravel and unmaintained roads in Canada’s National Capital Region and surrounding counties. Events are self-supported and open to both licensed and un-licensed riders of all experience levels. While riders should be self-reliant, the events do include:

  • ATV-support
  • Aid stations
  • Chip timing
  • Free race photos
  • Medals/Podium Presentation for each category

The series consists of seven events offering an "EPIC" course and a shorter "ADVENTURE" course. Participants accumulate points for every EPIC course event completed. Riders (female and male) having accumulated the most points at the end of the series will be crowned the Canada Gravel Cup Champion. They will have their name inscribed into history on the coveted GRAVEL CUP, and take home the final series leaders' jersey.

To Register please visit:!/series/gravel-cup-canada-2020


The Mother Ride

Club Office Information

170b Booth Street (Downtown Ottawa at the corner of Booth and Albert)

Office Hours

Mon - 3 PM to 8 PM     
Wed - 3 PM to 8 PM
Sun - 12 Noon to 4 PM

Mailing Address

Ottawa Bicycle Club
170b Booth Street
Ottawa, ON K1R 7W1

Office Administrator

Laura Jane Johnson : E-mail

OBC Contact Information

Telephone 613-230-1064
Fax 613-230-9504

Find us On-line

Webmaster Jeffrey Furry : E-mail 

Club website
Google Photos
Google Discussion Forum


Editor - Richard Persaud : E-mail



Member Services

Club Clothing Boutique

Bike Shop Discounts

Club Calendar  

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is the de facto management body of the OBC, with powers defined by the Ottawa Bicycle Club Constitution. Directors of the Board are mandated by club members to conduct club business on their behalf through elections held at the Club's Fall Annual General Meeting.

2020 Board of Directors

President - Scott McDougall
Vice President - Jim Brennan
Treasurer -Byron Johnson
Secretary - Emily Graves
Marketing & Communications - Richard Persaud
Youth Program - Noel Harrington
Membership and Volunteers - Michel Ferland
Education - Bob Hicks
Touring Events -  Eric Burpee
Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour - Carolyn Gail Tannenbaum
Director Without Portfolio - David Palmer
Director Without Portfolio - Doug Corner

Board Meetings

Meetings are held on the first (non-holiday) Monday of each month to discuss Club business in an organized manner.



Committees may be established by the Directors to support the activities of the Board and activities relating to specific events, such as racing, socials and the Rideau Lakes Tour.

Club Members

Members are welcome to attend Board meetings and find out more about how the club is managed. Members are also welcome and encouraged to assist with specific portfolios or events by approaching a director.

How to Become a Member

Club application forms are only accepted electronically via the on-line registration site.

Ottawa Bicycle Club Objectives

To conduct, encourage and promote cycle racing, cycle touring and recreational cycling;

To assist the cycling community at large in the promotion, encouragement and understanding of all aspects of cycling and related activities;

To ascertain, defend and pursue the rights of cyclists;

To promote youth cycling;

To carry on the above objectives in affiliation with the Canadian Cycling Association;