BUILT FOR SPEED.
Brent Carson, left, and Scott Doran warm up Tuesday in preparation for a Muskoka Lakes Cycling Club time trial on Airport Road in Bracebridge.
Photo by Roland Cilliers
THE MUSKOKAN — The first rule of cycle club is it’s perfectly OK to talk about cycle club.
“Cycling is the new golf... Group riding is very social. So you’re getting that physical activity with other people. People really get hooked” — Pete DeMos, Muskoka Outfitters
The emphasis on camaraderie and being social is in the first line of the Muskoka Lakes Cycling Club participant guidelines. The club prides itself on being a safe and fun group where all levels of cyclists can improve their skills and meet new people.
The club has a full slate of meet-ups, races and rides planned throughout the summer, and their hoping to encourage a whole new set of people to take up biking.
Pete DeMos, president of the Muskoka Lakes Cycling Club, said biking is a great way to stay fit and be social.
“Cycling is the new golf,” said DeMos. “People get together in a group and it’s for those people with an active mindset. Group riding is very social. So you’re getting that physical activity with other people. People really get hooked.”
Road cycling has been steadily growing in popularity for the last few years, but the sport does have several dangers. Some newer cyclists may find the idea of riding on the same roads where trucks will be zooming by to be intimidating. To help allay those fears, group rides are organized with a ride leader whose job it is to set the pace and inform newer members about safety practices.
Veteran club members are also able to provide advice to newer members on how they can improve their cycling.
“There’s a lot of people who want to get started in a group and sort of need support getting there. They need to know how to shift the bike, how to climb, how to descend on hills, how to ride further and get more fit. We’re not just road cycling. We’re trying to get people to ride bikes whether you’re a commuter or anything,” DeMos explained.
The regular group rides, held every week, provide cyclists with beginner to advanced options. The rides often culminate in a barbecue and are a non-competitive way for bikers to improve their skills, while learning the etiquette of group and road cycling.
For those who like their cycling a little more intense, the club is planning several bigger rides over the next few months. On Aug. 26, the club will be meeting at 7 a.m. to ride around Lake of Bays. Then in the fall, the Cyclocross clinic begins at Annie Williams Park with riders moving their way through a small but intense course that will require them to climb steep hills and navigate obstacles with their bike.
For anyone considering getting into cycling, DeMos recommends they come by Muskoka Outfitters and rent one of the many road bikes at the shop. Then, to get a feel for the cycle club, take part in one of the group’s recreational rides.
“Certainly, another way to get started is to buy a bike and join the group,” added DeMos. “Get started with that recreational ride, and once you’ve got the bug, you’ll be out more and more. As you get more fit you will start riding with the faster groups.”
Alternatively, you can go it alone by picking up one of the route maps the club has created. The maps are made specifically for cyclists and are a guide to all the best cycle spots in the region.
For more information on the Muskoka Lakes Cycling Club or to sign up, visit muskokaoutfitters.com.