May Spokesperson

In this issue:

President's Message

A short message this month, given the amount of information in recent RLCT messaging and the April Spokesperson –

First, huge thanks to Byron, Gail, Harold, Keri, and everyone on the RLCT team for analyzing the pros and cons of the event this year, and coming up with a viable set of options for shutting it down.  Those who registered have received their options selection form, and over half have already responded.  Feedback on the options has been generally very good.  As previously mentioned, the OBC has incurred significant costs already for the 2020 RLCT, and we need to cover some of those costs in the face of a “force of nature” cancellation.  Details of those costs will be available in the club’s updated financial statements.

As far as a re-start of club activities, we’ve indicated in the club calendar that everything is pretty much shut down until the end of May.  We’re working on some ideas as to how we can do some cycling in June, with mitigations in place.  That very much depends on the word from public health, Government of Ontario, Ontario Cycling Association.  Member safety is the paramount consideration!  We’ll keep you posted as this develops.

In the meantime, feel free to use our routes from Ride with GPS to get out on your bike – the roads aren’t crowded and the weather is finally starting to warm up!  

Lastly, Club Secretary Emily is working on an updated advocacy position for the OBC – more to come on that, but she’s done a great job of reaching out to members, consulting, and preparing a position that we all should be able to support.
Best wishes and thank you for your support of the OBC during this difficult time.

Scott McDougall, OBC President

Youth Program

Under normal circumstances, our season would be well underway with over a hundred enthusiastic youth cyclists and twenty coaches attending a variety of weekly group training sessions. We would be developing bike handling and safety skills, improving bike fitness, and building friendships as we work towards participating in bike racing and touring events across Ontario and Quebec through the spring and summer.

In spite of the recent challenges presented by COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, many of us are making the most of the situation in our own lives and in the lives of others. A few examples from our Club are provided below. First, a report of how one of our youth racers is getting the most out of this training opportunity. Next, a report on a fundraising initiative to help out the region’s youth cycling programs by drawing upon the support of the Ottawa cycling community. Finally, Coach Alan Dempsey offers his perspectives on changing the approach to training on short notice, and in such a significant way.

My Experience Training Through COVID-19 - by Alexandra Phaneuf

It goes without saying that COVID-19 has changed pretty much every aspect of my first year as a bike racer in the Junior category. It’s definitely been a big frameshift for me as I spent the whole winter focused on training and improving as much as possible to be able to perform well in races this summer. That is obviously no longer the case, which is something that has been hard to accept at times, since I’ve been driven to compete for a long time. 

Nevertheless, I’ve adapted to the situation by doing most of my training indoors. My family has been super supportive, making sure that my set-up keeps it fun to put in long hours on the bike indoors. Getting set up on a smart trainer and Zwift has allowed me to train (virtually) alongside my teammates and the use of a power meter has been hugely beneficial for knowing the specifics for each workout. I’m still conscious of the fact that I’m missing out on more tactical and technical skills that can really only come from group training rides, such as cornering, drafting, and lead outs. However, at the moment I’m focusing on my positioning and pedalling efficiency, trying to perfect the basics to prevent injury and make me a better cyclist. This training period has given me the opportunity to really be in my own zone, not having to worry about what anyone else is doing, and push my limits while still listening to my body. 

My goals for the season are now much more training oriented. Not having to worry about school too much has allowed more time to focus on my bike training and provided an opportunity to learn how to recover properly. I’ve been able to read up on better nutrition for training, as well as start to establish longer post-ride stretching and rolling routines, something that I would not otherwise have had the time for. 

Alexandra Phaneuf, OBC U19 Youth Racing Program athlete

All in all, COVID-19 has certainly made this season one to remember. Despite losing out on my first Junior racing season, this has been a huge learning opportunity, allowing me to become much more involved with my training, both on and off the bike. 

It Takes a Village - by Mark Manners

Luc Mahler and I are both cyclists with professional day jobs as small business owners. This is a result of the exceptional people that have surrounded us over the years. Without those exceptional people and their support, we wouldn’t have had the opportunities to do the things we’ve been lucky enough to do – cycling, post-secondary, small-business owners.

Now that we’re established in our careers, Luc as the owner of the chiropractic clinic ‘The Movement Company’ and myself as an advisor for insurance and investments with ‘Sun Life Financial’, we feel a sense of responsibility to give back. We now wish to be the people to give others the same opportunities we had in our youth.
To that end, in early February, we set out on a plan to offer the Ottawa cycling community showings of the year’s Spring Classics events as a fundraiser for both the OBC Youth Program and Ride With Rendall MTB Development Program. We all know that cycling is an expensive sport which can be a barrier to entry and full participation for some youth.

Our first showing took place at the Movement Co. on Sunday March 1st for the ‘Omloop Het Nieuwsblad’, the premiere opening Classics race which has become a fixture on the UCI World Tour Calendar. We had lots of laughs, great participation, and managed to raise $400 in the first night. It was amazing!

Mark Manners greeting viewers to the first Spring Classic at the Movement Co.

Then, with COVID-19, the entire world changed. As we all know, bike races all over the world have been cancelled and gatherings of people are simply not possible at this time. But we still had prizes to give away. Mike Woods & Karol-Ann Canuel were both generous enough to sign jerseys that we were going to draw for anybody that joined us and make a donation. Luc was giving away a bike fit and I had agreed to match donations up to $1,000.
We wanted to continue to raise more money and we still needed to give those jerseys away. That is when I had a crazy idea. I called Luc on Monday April 13th and I asked him two questions:

  • What are you doing Saturday?
  • How fit are you?

With Luc’s answers being “I have no plans” and “reasonably fit” that was it. We were doing it. We decided to continue our fundraising efforts by looking for donations as we virtually tackled Everest on Zwift. We knew we were in for 10 to 12 hours on the trainer. It was a tough day. We ate and drank sugar all day long. Our legs got sore and our bums even more. There were some great moments and some very dark moments. But through it all we increased donations from a respectable $400 to an eye popping $3,328.05. As a result the OBC and Ride with Rendall programs will both be getting $1,664 to help support the continued development of our region’s youth riders.

Mark Manners on his way to virtual Everest via Zwift

The Ottawa cycling community really stepped up! It was more than either of us imagined we would get and we can’t thank everybody enough. 



Mark Manners and Luc Mahler with the collective fundraiser effort - $ 3,328.05 for youth  cycling in the region

A Coach’s Perspective - by Alan Dempsey

Right now I should be out on the road drilling our U19s on various team tactics while they polish their fitness for the start of a bustling race season. But that’s not the case. Instead we’re each individually at home, on our trainers, working together in a virtual environment or riding outside on solo missions. 

The loss these riders feel being robbed of a valuable season of racing is evident. There is no question that they’re losing once-in-a-lifetime experiences, growth opportunities, laughs, struggles, and a critical piece of their coming-of-age as cyclists.

But even as that all stands true, they’ve also shown remarkable adaptability to this new normal we find ourselves in. One of the messages I’ve stressed to them is to stop looking at COVID-19 as an obstacle we have to overcome and view it as an opportunity we can leverage. Our athletes are able to devote themselves to their training without the distraction of racing. As best we can, virtually through platforms like Zwift and Zoom, we’re offering our racers ways of learning and developing that we’ve never had to do before. And they’re not just adapting, many of them are starting to thrive. During our workouts on Zwift, they’re encouraging each other to push through hard intervals and they’re joking with each other. They’re still finding ways to develop a strong sense of camaraderie and form bonds through sport.

We’ve even been able to bring the U17s, U15s, and even some U13s into our virtual sessions; something that wouldn’t normally be possible outside due to the difference in ability and development. These are strange times but we’re finding ways to make the best of it and ultimately we’ll have better riders for it. Dan Proulx, Canada’s National Team MTB coach remarked to me the other day that, “without racing, juniors especially will be able to progress two years worth of development in one year.” I’m excited to see how our athletes develop through this and I expect the cross season will be ridiculously competitive… if you’ll be racing in the same field as the U19s this fall, you better get to it.


A screen shot from a training session with OBC youth athletes on Zwift!

Update on Advocacy 

Work continues on this front! We held an in-person workshop open to all OBC members in February, conducted an electronic survey to all OBC members in March, and shared the survey results via our April Spokesperson. 

As we implement next steps, we ask those who offered to volunteer for various advocacy activities, to please re-submit your name and email address to:

Club Secretary E-mail 

~ along with the type of advocacy activity you are interested in:

  • designing communication materials (11)
  • outreach (21)
  • group riding clinics (20)
  • advanced skills clinic (14)
  • traffic safety workshop (22)
  • other advocacy activities (25)
  • become a member of a special governance and advocacy committee (18)

We have received several names and email addresses, but regrettably lost a few, after we removed the requirement for a gmail account, thereby making the survey accessible to more members. 

Providing us your name and contact information will allow us to better plan and organize our next steps which we outlined on the last page of the survey results. 

Thank you for your ongoing support and collaboration.

Stay safe, and keep well !

Emily Graves, OBC Secretary

Advanced Skills 2020 – Further Thoughts

I wrote last month that, if we could eventually cycle in groups again this summer, I would present an advanced skills clinic in a condensed format - if there were enough interest. I got enough interest and what I will propose is two group rides where we include all the curriculum as we ride.

A Word about Speed

There will most likely be a single group if this goes ahead and I need to make a comment about speed. I always tell prospective students that a skilled cyclist is not necessarily a fast cyclist. A corollary to that opinion is that a skilled fast cyclist should be able to ride comfortably with slower cyclists at their speed. Anyone who cannot do this is lacking an essential skill. So, one group it is and we ride together.


We will still have a classroom session with course introduction and my perspective on traffic safety, but that session will take place as a video conference. My only experience with video conferencing is with Zoom, so unless someone can convince me there is a better technology, Zoom it will be.

This One Will Be Free

Without the Ben Franklin rental, there are no expenses to run this and with only two sessions, there’s no need for any additional incentive to show up, so there will be no entry fee this year. 

Obviously, there’s no schedule yet, but if you think you’re still interested, contact me, Bob Hicks, e-mail , 613 862-1024

The Curriculum Components - Reference

Here is the curriculum in detail as it has evolved over recent years. These are the elements we’ll try to incorporate in the rides. I’ve crossed out the parts we won’t cover.

Remember, it probably cannot start before July.

Week 1

  • Introduction
  • Video
  • Traffic safety
  • Q & A

Week 2

  • Bicycle Safety Checks
  • Bike fit
  • Agility drills

Week 3

  • Agility drills
  • Braking
  • Pedalling
  • Side-by-side bumping
  • Wheel touching
  • Cornering

Week 4

  • Cornering side-by-side
  • Looking behind while keeping a straight line
  • Single-file
  • Single echelon
  • Double echelon
  • Bumping & wheel touching review
  • Agility drills

Week 5

  • Sprinting
  • Group sprinting and coming off a wheel
  • Single echelon review
  • Double echelon review
  • Cornering review
  • Agility drills
  • Bumping & wheel touching

Week 6

  • Taking a feed
  • Hill climbing
  • Descending
  • Changing gears

Week 7

  • Echelons on rolling terrain
  • Controlling speed
  • Sitting on

Week 8

  • Putting it together – a ride in the park
  • Evaluation of the clinic
  • Graduation Dinner

2020 RLCT Registration Fee Options

Thank you for your patience as the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour Committee and the Ottawa Bicycle Club have been working on the details of your 2020 RLCT Registration Fee options.  

All RLCT Registrants will have received an email by now with instructions on how to select the options described below. If you did not receive an email and you registered for the RLCT 2020 tour, contact Laura at the OBC office.

Please note that selections must be made no later than May 31st, 2020. After May 31st, no refunds or deferrals will be processed.  

OPTION #1: Defer to the 2021 Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour (June 12-13, 2021) 

Should you select this option, a Tour refund will not be processed.* Your payment and contact information will be kept on file and the RLCT Committee will send an email to you before 2021 Tour Registration begins. This email will contain a 'coupon code' which can be used at checkout during 2021 RLCT registration. The value of the coupon will be equivalent to the registration option paid in 2020. Ie,

  • If you registered for the Full Tour Package as an Early Bird with an OBC discount, your coupon will be worth the value of a 2021 Full Tour Package Early Bird Registration with OBC Discount. 
  • If you paid for 'Ride Only' with an Early Bird discount, your coupon will be worth the value of a 2021 'Ride Only/Early Bird'. 
  • If you register after the Early Bird 2021 Tour deadline or for a more expensive 2021 Tour option, you will be prompted to pay the difference in price upon registration.
  • If you register for a less expensive 2021 Tour option, we will not be able to issue any refunds at that time for the price difference. 

Option #1 represents the best value, should you be considering signing up again in 2021, for the following reasons: 1. Every penny spent will go toward your 2021 registration; 2. As long as you register as an Early Bird and for the same Tour package, there will be NO payments required upon 2021 registration; and 3. Your registration will not be subject to any Tour price increases. 

*Algonquin Breakfast add-ons cannot be deferred so will be refunded in full.

OPTION #2: 90% Refund

Should you select this option, a refund will be processed either on the same credit card that was used for your 2020 Tour registration. If you used a prepaid card, you should choose the cheque option. The 90% refund applies to the total amount paid for the Tour (including processing fees). Ie, if you registered for the Full Tour Package as an Early Bird (non-OBC member) and paid $180 + taxes and fees (total of $219 at checkout), you will receive a refund of $197 (13% HST included). Note that Algonquin Breakfast add-ons are separate and will be refunded in full. 

OPTION #3: Donate the 2020 RLCT payment to the OBC

Should you select this option, a refund will not be processed and all funds paid toward your 2020 Tour Registration (minus taxes and processing fees) will be donated to the OBC to ensure the Club’s solvency going forward. Your generosity is greatly appreciated as the Club navigates its way through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.  
We trust you understand that, like many other events, months of planning and unrecoverable expenditures have already gone into the 2020 Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour, and the options above represent every effort made to put money back into riders' pockets, while helping to ensure that the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour will be able to continue into 2021 and beyond. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We wish you health, happy independent cycling, and we hope to see you in 2021. 
The RLCT Committee / Ottawa Bicycle Club

Club Office Information

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

Office Hours *phone only*

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;