December Spokesperson

In this issue:

President’s Message

As we enter the month of December, the snow has arrived in Ottawa-Gatineau and may of us have already switched from outdoor road riding to pedaling on the indoor trainer.  Others are out on the ‘white stuff’ starting the ski & fat biking season.  With the holidays rapidly approaching, this is also a time when we reflect on the year that was and look forward to the season that lies ahead.  As the Ottawa Bicycle Club shifts its focus from 2020 into 2021, we do so with great anticipation for the collective celebration that lies ahead.

Next year, 2021, is a milestone year for the OBC, our 50th year as a modern & formally reconstituted cycling club.  Community organizations, including athletic clubs, have come and gone, but our club has remained vibrant, growing, and dynamic for five decades.  We have a legacy and a history to be proud of and your Board and supporting volunteers have been identifying ways to celebrate this milestone over the coming season.  More details will follow on our website and in subsequent editions of The Spokesperson.

For those members that attended our Annual General Meeting on the 16th, you will already know that the Club’s senior leadership will have a very different look in 2021.  Of note, several long-time Board members have decided to retire from their current roles.  I’m of course referring to outgoing President - Scott McDougall, Education Director - Bob Hicks, Rideau Lakes Director - Gail Tannenbaum and Touring Events Director - Eric Burpee.  We certainly owe all of them our most sincere thanks for not only dedicating a tremendous amount of their personal time and energies to serve the Club in a leadership function, but also for their many years of volunteer service for the wider Ottawa Cycling community.  We certainly expect to see all of them around participating in or helping with club events and activities next year.  When you see them, please take the time to thank them for their service.

As we all know, the real strength in the OBC lies in its people.  In particular, the new Board team that has been assembled to lead the Club forward into the 2021 season is strong, experienced, and enthusiastic.  I know that the members will enjoy working with all of them, including our new Board members: Steven Cornick, Sean Dawson, Doug Holt and Heather Boyd.  While some of these faces are new to the Board, they are not new to the Club.  We will provide a more detailed profile of the new Board members starting in January, once the portfolio assignments are finalized at the December meeting of Directors.

As is the case with these members, it goes without saying that our club’s success is firmly rooted in the strength of and support from our diverse community of members and volunteers.  I hope many of you will consider stepping forward as a volunteer in 2021 and in the next phase of the Club’s journey as well.

I would like to indicate that I am most grateful for the confidence placed in me by the members to serve the Ottawa Bicycle Club as its next President starting in the 2021 season.  I am particularly excited to help shepherd the further growth and development of one of the leading athletic clubs in our region and one of the largest, historic, and most recognized cycling clubs in the country.

While I know many of you from various activities and events, others may not know much about me either, so here is a quick summary.  I have been an active volunteer with the OBC for about five years, primarily in the youth program and later a Board member.  I came into the OBC as a parent volunteer to support my daughter who was enrolled in our widely celebrated youth and junior development program.   When she finished, I continued on as a volunteer coach and, at the same time, turned my recreational cycling focus to regular touring, training, and participating in our local racing events.  By entering competition in my middle age, I can say my racing career has been spectacularly unsuccessful!  However, I have enjoyed every minute of it having learned a tremendous amount about the sport by competing and from those experienced coaches and racers willing to share their knowledge and experience.  The real benefit, however, has been meeting and befriending many wonderful people within our Club and within the wider Ottawa cycling community with shared passions for youth development, racing, touring, and community service.

Professionally, I am a senior manager with a large national not-for-profit organization where I have worked for the past twelve years.  Prior to this, I worked on the executive management team for a large national industry association, ran my own consultancy, and worked in the federal government.  Throughout this time, I have overseen and worked with volunteers or in a volunteer capacity for most of my adult life.  My wife Vicki and I live in Nepean and we have one adult child, currently pursuing her undergraduate studies in science at McGill University.

Looking ahead, the Club has a comprehensive five-year strategic plan in place.  As such, the main focus of your Board of Directors in 2021 (and beyond) will be to redouble our efforts to get back to regular business by implement the Plan throughout the balance of its 2021-23 lifespan.  Given the negative financial impacts that the global pandemic has had on the OBC’s annual finances, largely as a result of the cancellation of many of our core revenue generating activities in 2020, we will be focusing on reinvigorating our membership and finances by reaching out to lapsed members and recruiting new ones into the Club.  We will also aim to re-establish existing revenue streams and create new ones to restore our lost or reduced revenue streams and thus build back a stronger financial base for the Club.  With the re-vamping of the Ontario Not for Profit Corporations Act starting in 2021, the Club will also be looking at its governance structure and will be modernizing it in parallel to making it conform to the revised provincial legislation.  

Above all, we will do our absolute best to resume as many of our activities and programs as we can in 2021 while conforming to all those public health restrictions that we are obliged to.  Our goal is to elevate our game in this regard.

Building a strong a sense of Club identity and community by encouraging a culture of member-driven activity and a new commitment to volunteerism through support for special events will be our priority in 2021.  We will do this in part by celebrating our golden anniversary throughout the cycling season.  In the spring, we will look to mark the founding of the Club, in the summer we will introduce a new and exciting touring event and an expanded member BBQ/picnic (assuming COIVD restrictions have eased), and, if the situation allows, we also plan on finishing the 2021 season by bringing back our highly popular and successful end-of-year banquet to complete our 50th Anniversary season.  

With what we hope is a more positive year nearly upon us, I thank you for your continued support for the OBC.   I also look forward to working with and/or meeting with as many of you as possible in 2021.

Jim Brennan
Ottawa Bicycle Club

Riding a Half Century – The OBC Turns 50

We all have milestones or markers in our personal lives that help us to reflect on who we are and where we are going.  Graduating from school, securing a first job, getting married are just a few common ones along life’s journey.

For cyclists, getting your first high-performance road bike is a major turning point.  Then, getting in sync with it and riding for longer and longer distances becomes the focus.

Later, the century mark comes into focus - it is the first big goal and, when we achieve it, this becomes our coming of age moment as cyclists.  Its when we realize that not only are rides of this length doable but repeatable.  It opens the doors to set even greater goals for ourselves.  It also gives us the opportunity to reflect on and to celebrate the journey.

2021 is the coming of age moment for the Ottawa Bicycle Club; it is our 50th year, our golden anniversary as a formally reconstituted and federated cycling club in Canada.
You might ask - hold on, doesn’t our Club kit say, “est. 1882”?    

Yes, it does, and here is a brief explanation:

The original “Ottawa Bicycle Club” was founded by a group of community leaders in August 1882 and lasted until approximately 1923 when it ceased operations.  From this date until the late 1960’s we have little information on cycling, particularly organized road cycling, in the National Capital Region.  These are questions and mysteries that we hope to answer or shed some future light on.

Fast forward to the late 1960’s, following a lengthy ebb, the cycling waters began to flow again in Ottawa and in Canada.  The Canadian Cycling Association (CCA) - now “Cycling Canada”, wanted to fill an important gap: the absence of a structured cycling club to promote recreational touring and racing in the National Capital Region.  
With the encouragement and support of then CCA Executive Director, Ken Smith, a group of local cycling enthusiasts, our OBC founders, began to discuss the idea of building a British style cycling club for the Capital city.  Early drivers included the OBC’s first President Mike McCall and Canadian cycling legend & 1926 Dunlop Trophy winner, the late Lea Gault.  These and other founders came together at McNabb Community Centre on April 15th, 1971, and formally consecrated the re-birth of a modern Ottawa Bicycle Club.

Our anniversary year and our nod to the original OBC is also a reminder that Ottawa has a long history of sport and athletic achievement in our community, stretching back to the early days of our city and our country.  We are proud to recognize the fact that cycling as a sport, alongside both Ottawa Bicycle Clubs, serving as its conduit, has played an important role in our community’s vibrancy, development, and history.

Looking ahead into 2021, our theme for this coming year is “Riding a Half Century”.  This draws our attention to the accomplishments and history of our first fifty years as a club, while at the same time turning our focus to the path forward and the challenges and achievements that await us.
This anniversary is one that we will mark throughout the coming year.  Even with COVID restrictions in place for the foreseeable future, we will be celebrating where we have come from and where we are headed.  

2020 was our dry-run at operating under a pandemic, while we hope that restrictions will ease in 2021, the Club will continue to adapt and look for safe ways for us to ride together, one way or another.

To kick off our celebratory year, we will soon unveil a special 50th anniversary commemorative cycling kit.  This kit will be produced for us by our partners at Castelli and they will be manufactured at their home factory in Fonzaso (Veneto) Italy.   We are delighted with this design in a full kit package and cannot wait to share this with you.
We will also be offering a limited edition, pre-order only, vintage merino wool long sleeved OBC cycling jersey manufactured by Cima Coppi of Asturias, Spain.  These are premium garments designed for shoulder season riding, and they have come recommended to us by current members who train with them in the early spring and fall seasons.  Please stay tuned for the imminent release of both items.

Later, we hope to run a new 50th anniversary touring event in the late spring as well as a revamped and revised Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour in the summer, our most important event, and one of the most significant cycling events in Eastern Canada.

Cheers to the coming year; we hope you will be along for the ride with us.


December may be here but our awareness campaign on safe cycling (our key advocacy position) continues! If you live in a condominium or apartment, we ask you to pin an OBC poster or postcard on your community bulletin boards! Contact to have some delivered to you.  

OBC Women's Time Trials (#OBCWTT)

A survey with questions focused on the #OBCWTT (and a proposed women-only group rides, to be developed as a feeder group to the #OBCWTT) was released to OBC and non-OBC women cyclists between October 20 to November 20. The survey results will be shared shortly but as of this writing, 249 women responded (81.1% of them are non-OBC members). Expect a livelier and more focused 2021 for #OBCwomenonbikes! Support is needed to get this off the ground, and a search for a paid training and event coordinator is being launched. 

Wanted: Training and event coordinator for the #OBCWTT 2021

  • Gender-neutral: man or woman
  • Term: Part-time, temporary, flexible hours before and during the WTT 2021 season (to be discussed) Remuneration: honorarium to a maximum of $1,000 for the 2021 (funded solely from the WTT bequest) 
  • Will report to: OBC Secretary (Board lead for #OBCWTT)
  • Application due by 4:00 pm EST, Friday, December 18, 2020. Please email your letter indicating how you will perform what is expected of you, with associated timelines, and attach your updated resume that includes names of two references, to

The overarching goal is to set up a logical continuum to entice and support new women members joining the OBC on how to ride safely, as individuals, or in groups, and to grow their knowledge, skills, and confidence to join the feeder group for the women’s time trials events.

This is how the chosen #OBCWTT coordinator will be of help.

New women OBC members will learn how to ride safely

-the chosen coordinator will coordinate, and follow up on the delivery and scheduling of learn to ride sessions in spring 2021 (currently in development), and the delivery of the OBC basic group cycling session in spring 2021 
-Outcome: identify actual calendar dates we can offer to new women members (and other new members) (due winter 2021), in collaboration with the volunteer education teams

New women OBC members will grow their knowledge, skills, and confidence

-the chosen coordinator will coordinate with, and help train/find trainers for potential volunteer ride leaders for the yet to be established women-only rides (the survey that the OBC put forward identifies willing volunteers; in the survey, women indicated they are willing to lead rides, but need training)
-Outcome:  identify (specific) days and times for women-only rides that can be offered staring in spring 2021, in collaboration with lead volunteers (due winter 2021); train or find trainers for lead volunteers

Develop and support a feeder group for the women’s time trials

-the chosen coordinator will elicit information and develop a few sessions (including identifying who would do it and when) to provide tips and tricks for would-be women time trialists or new/current OBC women cyclists who want to try it. Women in the survey indicated they want to try time trials but either do not know much about it, or are trepidated to try, but overwhelmingly said they could use some training to be confident enough to even try it.
-Outcome: identify who will provide these sessions, and when/where sessions can be held; train or find trainers (due winter 2021)

Help promote the women’s time trials

-work with the Board lead and a graphic designer to develop a promotional poster for the #OBCWTT (due winter 2021)
-presence at and/or coordination of some #OBCWTT events (between May 2021 and August 2021, to be discussed)
-outcome:  help develop a promotional poster that will be shared on social and print media. The poster will need to articulate the continuum noted above, provide educational information about time trials, and should answer potential new women members’ question, what’s in it for me to join the OBC? 

Important: Application due by 4:00 pm EST, Friday, December 18, 2020. Please email your letter indicating how you will perform what is expected of you, with associated timelines, and attach your updated resume that includes names of two references, to

OBC zoom series

We have now hosted nine inspiring and educational virtual presentations: Sri Lanka from Tip to Tail (Bill Bourne), The Seven Wonders of Lanark County (Susan Roe), Traffic Safety (Bob Hicks), Biking to the UCI World Championships (Les Humphreys) and Grand Bike Adventure: Bike Packing from Ottawa to Timmins (Mark Manners), The Log Driver’s Waltz  (Eric Betteridge), and Albania, Anyone? (Guy Newsham), 529 Garage (Const. Richard Zulys) and Practical Tips on Cycling Etiquette, Basic Cycling Safety Strategies and Cycling Resources available for the Ottawa’s cycling community (Jen Stelzer, Manager, Community Programs). Our 10th presentation (December 2) will be from Paul Owens who raced around Rwanda (the land of a thousand hills, tackling a distance of about 1000 kilometers and about 17,000m of climbing over five days. Following that, for our 11th zoom series entry, on January 20, 2021, we will have Hans on the Bike (and elsewhere…!), as he regales us with his humour, and various cycling adventures at Alma (Quebec), Loire (Netherlands).

If you wish to make a presentation, or know of someone we can invite to our zoom series, please contact

We would also like to encourage you to register your bike against theft:

Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour (RLCT) 2021

Given the uncertainties in our environment, the club is planning a two-pronged approach to RLCT 2021.

As announced at the November 16 AGM, the main RLCT event will be deferred to August.  We have concluded that the traditional June dates will not be feasible this year, given the health and safety restrictions which we anticipate will still be in place at that time.  The core team continues to consider a number of options to enable us to proceed with a high-quality event in August. Final decisions regarding the details of this event will be made in the spring, once we have a better picture of the COVID protocols likely to be in place later in the summer.

In the meantime, we are preparing to offer an event in June to honour the RLCT tradition and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the OBC. Our goal is to provide opportunities for cyclists to explore the Rideau Lakes region with various route options, starting points, dates and times, while observing the COVID restrictions.  Our offering in June is aptly dubbed “50 for 50” which stands for “50 routes for the 50th OBC anniversary”! The core team and a group of route planners are currently busy identifying potential routes. More details will be shared shortly.  

An anticipatory event manager job posting for the main RLCT will be out later in the winter, as we continue to assess the feasibility of running the event in August. Please contact if you have any ideas, or wish to help out.

Looking for student volunteers

We have received eight applications since the time we advertised on August 14. Please continue to spread the word and share this link. We will continue explore additional ways to engage high school students in 2021:


Dear Ottawa Bicycle Club,

I want to deeply express my appreciation and gratitude for all of you. The outpouring of love and support has been overwhelming and led to some happy tears. I will miss all of you.

I am planning to purchase a set of wheels of some kind to keep me outside more next spring. That wouldn't have been possible without your love and support! Thank you.


Club Office Information

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

Office Hours

Closed until December 31st

Mailing Address

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

Office Administrator


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 -Jim Brennan
Vice President - David Palmer 
Treasurer -Byron Johnson
Secretary - Emily Graves
Youth Program - Noel Harrington
Membership and Volunteers - Michel Ferland
Marketing & Communications - Richard Persaud
Director - Steven Cornick  
Director  - Sean Dawson
Director Without Portfolio - Heather Boyd
Director Without Portfolio - Doug Corner
Director Without Portfolio - Doug Holt

Past-President - Scott McDougall (non-voting)

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;