There are many great riding opportunities in Ontario. Cycling clubs across the province bring together new and experienced riders, coaches and a wide range of amenities to create an unparalleled environment where individuals can train, ride, compete, and improve. Many cycling enthusiasts seek these exceptional opportunities to hone their skills and enjoy the sport in a fantastic club.
Nevertheless, there is still one thing to work on.
There is a lack of representation of riders from diverse and underrepresented communities in the Ontario Cycling community. Increasing opportunities for underrepresented groups is essential in promoting equity and inclusion within the cycling landscape. Therefore, it is necessary to develop a community where all voices can be heard, and individual uniqueness is valued; such initiatives need to include measures tailored toward specific underrepresented communities, so individuals feel welcomed and respected.
How it all started
The One Love Cycling Movement (1LCM), started by Ray Williams as a Private Race Team during the pandemic in 2021, primarily focused on bringing more diversity and access into the cycling community. “Since we transitioned into a private master’s Cycling Club, our membership has grown, and I can proudly say that we got members from diverse backgrounds in our club,” said Williams.
Photo: OneLove Cycling Movement /INSTAGRAM
Photo: OneLove Cycling Movement
Photo: OneLove Cycling Movement
The struggle is real.
Williams continues, “We faced some challenges in the past and still today. Forming a club and implementing an organizational structure in a team or club can be stressful, time-consuming, and relentlessly detail-oriented in many cases. Those who successfully create and sustain such formal systems do so by being tenaciously organized and managing expectations between different club members. You never know how something different will be received. Fortunately, some friends and allies wanted to be part of the group. Ontario Cycling has been very supportive as we try to build this community. While navigating the formal organizing of the group, the organization and the community building aspect is, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, very important to our collective.”
Where does cycling take you?
For the next year, big things are in sight. At 1LCM, everything is focused on riding to new places, pushing one another to the next level, and enjoying the sport they love while building communities and connecting with new peers. The riding part is seen as fun. Williams breaks the club’s vision for the future down to three essential terms: ride, race and advocate.
The racing team focuses on the competitive members of the club — those who want to join the Ontario Cup series or Triathlon races in the province and internationally.
The advocacy piece of the 1LCM is by far the most impressive and hardest to achieve. “We want to continue to grow the club and bring more master’s cyclists, especially of Afro descent, into the peloton,” says Williams proudly.
Cycling is traditionally not very accessible – specifically if it comes to underserved communities. The One Love Cycling Movement tries to get these underrepresented groups involved in cycling by partnering with community organizations to introduce more young people to the sport. Their main goal is for the youth of colour to know that there is a space for them in the vibrant world of cycling. Whether the reasons are for leisure, health, transportation, or a professional pathway, the One Love Cycling Movement supports reducing the economic barriers restricting access to the sport.