Please welcome the eight Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Steering Committee members. Each of the following individuals has a unique lens that will help Ontario Cycling’s community learn from each other and provide a well-rounded and thoughtful approach to our DIBs Action Plan over the next two years. Please be aware that Ontario Cycling chooses each member based on the community they represent and their active participation in this issue. Each person brings a valuable viewpoint to the table and this discussion.
An ex-professional cyclist, Julie Hutsebaut transitioned to coaching and led various women’s continental teams as Directeur sportif. As a previous Para-cycling coordinator at Cycling Canada, she gained valuable international para-cycling experience by coordinating the team at many Para-Cycling World Championships. She then moved to the Canadian paralympic committee, where she acted as a valued member of the Games Operations Team for the 2011 Parapan American Games and the 2012 Paralympic Games. An undergraduate in Communications and Official Languages Services as well as an NCCP Certified coach, Julie has returned to cycling by getting involved locally in the National Capital Region and keeping a vivid interest in developing para-cycling in Ontario. An active Board Member and volunteer at her children’s community sports clubs, she brings specific knowledge in Accessibility, Health and Safety and Wellness in the workplace from her work experience in Human Resources in the public service. Julie Hutsebaut is a consultant in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and Accessibility. With a strong focus on prevention, team collaboration and coherence, she is passionate about creating inclusive sports environments where athletes, coaches and staff with disabilities and/or diverse identities and cultural backgrounds feel they belong, have equal access to the sport and are valued for their contributions. With a strong sense of privilege, she joins OC’s DIB Steering Community.
Colin MacLellan is a cyclist, father, and teacher (and cycling blogger too). He has been riding since he was a kid but didn’t start racing until about ten years ago when the owners of Joyride 150 suggested trying a race. A month or so later, he ran his first P2A, and a week after that, he did the Substance Projects Homage to Ice. The racing bug stuck, and he has competed in over 100 races. He rides MTB, gravel, fat bike, dirt jumper, and (occasionally) a road bike. His absolute favourite bike, and usually pick for racing, is a single-speed MTB, and his other absolute favourite bike is his gravel bike. If there’s a race, and he can do it, he does… and if Colin can’t, he might be there as emcee! Colin is from Scarborough, and his hometown lives deep within him. He wasn’t just born there; he taught there and still lives there. Working with thousands of students over the years, each with a unique and beautiful story, forged his commitment to diversity, inclusion, and belonging, where Colin advocates for them and steers institutional change. He carries that ethos to his cycling persona and often tackles the sometimes challenging issues of sexism and inclusion while promoting a sense of belonging for all–and it’s always underscored by the awesomeness of the cycling community at large. Colin is happy to do the heavy lifting of interrupting our biases and promoting a better sense of our connection to the land on which we ride (as well as to each other), and he looks forward to working with the DIB Committee.
Having been born in the 70’s with Spina-Bifida, participating in any sport has always been a challenge for Katty Abran. Being an athlete, she has always found a way and paved her road. She understood at a very early age that her disability was a social and physical barrier to participating in a sport. With resilience and determination, nothing stopped her from competing in athletics by running the 800m for several years until she graduated High School. Katty’s goal was never to come in last, and she never did! She competed against able-bodied athletes because there were no other options. After raising her daughter as a single parent and pursuing her career as a French Immersion teacher, following a health issue related to the impairment, it was in her best interest to start exercising, which led Katty to get back into sports in 2013. She learned that para-athletics had evolved, so she joined wheelchair racing and thrived as a high-performance athlete! That fire was reignited, and Katty was finally able to become the athlete she always knew she was. The opportunity to train and compete is fantastic; “it’s so exciting, and I can’t imagine myself living my life without sports!”
In 2021, Katty switched sports to join hand-cycling, and she loves every minute of it, especially when she is speeding down those roads! Everyone deserves to have something in their life that makes them feel that way. Although there are more opportunities today for a person with a disability to join a parasport, it comes with its challenges. Challenges such as:
- Very expensive equipment
- Finding experienced coaches
- Joining a club
- Participating in competitions and a lack of funding
These are but some of the obstacles para-athletes face when joining a sport, and it’s all too often overwhelming, discouraging and even unattainable. Katty believes that having Spina-Bifida isn’t a handicap – society is often what handicaps me. Contributing her lifelong experience of living with a disability and her experience as a para-athlete will develop a vigorous cycling and para-cycling community so all cyclists and para-cyclists can thrive and enjoy this incredibly exhilarating sport! “Being a part of the Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Steering Committee is an incredible opportunity to be a voice for para-athletes.”
Samantha currently works in the Finance sector, and is also a road cyclist and commuter. She has had previous experience in non-profit groups promoting cultural diversity through events organized in the Toronto area. She would now like to combine this experience with her passion for cycling to promote diversity within the cycling community.
Her cycling journey started in 2018 after a few colleagues convinced her to do the Ride for Heart charity ride with my cruiser bike. 4 years and 7 bikes after, Doris’ passion for cycling only gets stronger. She is a MTB, Gravel, Road rider and has participated in various races in the last couple of years. Doris is passionate about the sport and inclusivity. Currently she serves as the director of Inclusion and Diversity for LapDogs Cycling Club in Toronto. Doris aspires to help build an inclusive cycling community for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. She is a Chartered Professional Accountant working in the construction industry. “When I am not riding or crunching numbers, I enjoy snowboarding, photography and outdoor adventures.”
Sarah’s initial passion for mobility came from her time as a bicycle guide throughout Atlantic Canada. This experience opened her eyes to the power of mobility on individual and collective well-being. This lead her to a variety of roles in the cycling industry including organizing cycling events for non-profits, working and volunteering at bike shops and co-ops across Canada and completing research on the influence cycling infrastructure can have on the travel behaviours of self-identified women during her time as Masters of Urban Planning student at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU). “One could say I’ve always had a thing for bikes.” Most recently she was able to collectively organize and run a Queer Bike Club in Toronto (Queer Bike Club Toronto, or QBC for short). She started it based on a lack of truly queer biking clubs for all skill levels available in Toronto. The club is working towards becoming a collective, run by and for all QBC members. Guided by their collectively created mandate, they were so excited to see where it can go and how it can hopefully continue to support the LGBTQIA+ community in Toronto. “I’m so excited to bring some of the incredible things I’ve learned to the Ontario Cycling Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Steering Committee (DIBS) from all those more knowledgeable than I along my biking journey thus far.”
David Leng currently works with a geological consulting firm based in Brantford, ON and is a board member of industry and community organizations. He has been an elected council member of a regulatory organization since 2015 where he has gained extensive experience as Chair of Governance, as a mentor for geoscience students and most recently, as a member of the organization’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. David has been involved in the cycling world since 2015, joining the Brant Cycling Club as a member, director and through our company as a top corporate sponsor. As a cyclist, he rides both road and gravel and enjoy the challenge of pushing his physical limits through single day, long distance rides. In addition, he has spoken publicly on many occasions and is well known as an advocate for geoscience and cycling – profession and passion, respectively. He believes experiences from my professional career and private life will benefit the OC DIBs Committee. “As members of marginalized communities, we each recognize being involved with OC DIBS is both an honour and important responsibility to create a cycling world where everyone is welcome.”
Alyssa started cycling in 2015 when the Milton Velodrome opened. She has raced Track and MTB with Milton Revolution Cycling Club (MRCC) since 2017. Alyssa started coaching in 2017 as a volunteer track coach and in 2021 was welcomed onto the NCIM coaching team where she has coached classes ranging from Certifications to Open Tracks. She has also done a wide variety of cycling camps for Track, MTB, and Road. Alyssa is currently in post-secondary education for Pre-Service Firefighting.