Always In Motion

OC Women’s Month Profile – Sandra Fletcher & The Saddle Sisters

Saddle Sisters of High Park is an incredibly strong and inspiring network of female cyclists, that was created by Sandra Fletcher during the pandemic.  From just a few women, to now, having 660 members, the club has created a space for all women – no matter skill – to find a place to ride with other like-minded females!  OC was pleased to be able to select Sandra as a Volunteer of the Year Award Recipient for 2023.  Her passion and dedication have not gone unnoticed!

We wanted to profile, not just Sandra, but also learn more about the amazing community she has created and hear from some of the wonderful women who are part of her community.

Sandra Fletcher – Founder, Saddle Sisters of High Park


My name is Sandra Fletcher, and I started a women’s+ cycling network in Toronto called “Saddle Sisters of High Park”. I’ve lived in the city for 14 years with my wonderful husband Roland and our dog Kingsley. Long bike rides that take up the whole day are the best, as it guarantees that you’ll have coffee and food stops with great friends and great conversation. 


How long have you been cycling?

I have been cycling since I could learn to ride my bike at 5 years old, my big brother Edward got me into it. I started getting more serious after completing two Ride to Conquer Cancer charity rides in 2009 and 2010 and joining Morning Glory Cycling Club in 2018. 

What made you start cycling?  

The freedom and peace it brings you while giving you the opportunity to explore the city and discover new places and towns you would have normally never gone to is amazing, and most times I would find the company to be the best part. 

What do you think is the most important thing that cycling has given you?

The ability to meet new people and make friends with those that I probably would have never met outside cycling, also bringing people together and seeing their friendships and relationships grow is rewarding.

What would be your wish for the future of cycling?

It would be great to see more women explore the competitive side of cycling and dip their toe into racing. Being a Masters athlete myself, I would love to see the masters women field sizes grow in the years to come. Even better if these women bring their daughters and sons out who may also embrace our beautiful sport. 

What suggestions would you have for anyone looking to start cycling?

Just get a bike, any bike and ride it. Join a local charity ride to see if cycling is for you. If you love it, then join a local club or group. ‘Saddle Sisters of High Park’ is a registered race team so we have training rides for licensed riders, and we also host non-sanctioned rides and events where any women’s+’ can join. 

What is your favourite type of ride and why? 

All rides must end with coffee or have a coffee-stop. This is non-negotiable. I’ll just get that off my chest. My favorite type of ride would be a group ride with the ‘Sisters’ at about 27+km/h avg pace with some push and some conversation bits out to Kleinburg or Belfountain. That would be the best because we work well together in how we ride in formations and no matter the conversation, or lack thereof, my heart is always filled for hours after the ride is over. 

Saddle Sisters of High Park

We asked Sandra to share more on Saddle Sisters of High Park, as well as to learn from a few of her members what this community has come to mean to them.

The Saddle Sisters of High Park was created as an avenue for women identifying persons to bond and build long lasting and supportive relationships through common interests and strengths in all things bicycle.

How did you start Saddle Sisters?

Sandra: I joined a local cycling group when I first got into group riding, but I found I was never fast enough to ride with them, so one morning during the first year of the pandemic, I was riding on “ACTIVE T.O” alone feeling a bit discouraged. I asked another woman who I knew rode at the same pace as me if she wanted to meet up for a ride one morning and she did. It was great! We still ride together to this day. Then quickly 2 turned into 10 which turned into 25 and it just grew from there. The growth of the group has been really organic. Most of our sisters found out about us through word-of-mouth or our Instagram page. I planned the rides in Strava and people would RSVP to them, which is the process we still use today. 

How many members do you have?  Were you surprised by how fast it’s grown?

Sandra: We have 660 members in our Strava group where we post our meetups. I wouldn’t say I was surprised at how fast it’s grown because during one of the loneliest periods in our history (COVID) we offered an escape from that. A chance to meet up outside in small groups socially distant but still connect with people for our mental health. We needed a safe space, a network where we can learn to ride bikes together and explore far off places. We rode to Niagara Falls a few times and also planned a ride around Lake Simcoe for a “birthday ride’. We’re also developing and testing our racing skills and with the help from Midweek Cycling Club and their Tuesday night race series. One of our goals is to equip women with the confidence and skills to join other clubs and group rides in their community and expand their network.  

What has been the most rewarding part of creating this community?

Sandra: Seeing the relationships and friendships grow as more women join our network. I have seen women who were once strangers go on to plan trips and vacations together, on and off the bike.  


What is your hope for cycling in Ontario?

Sandra: More cycling infrastructure would be helpful so people who want to ride out far but are concerned about their safety can still enjoy what the province has to offer. I know there are so many beautiful places but unless you have a car to escape the city, getting to those places is near impossible. 

Saddle Sisters

“Saddle Sisters is more than a cycling club to me; it’s an inclusive space for women, trans, femme, and non-binary cyclists to come together and share experiences through rides. By joining the Saddle Sisters, I found not just fellow cyclists, but also friends who inspire me to push my limits, learn new skills and explore the roads of Toronto with confidence.” – Berna Abtihodzheva

“Saddle sisters is a vibrant group of like-minded women empowering each other to do better on and off the saddle. This group will not only teach you biking etiquettes and skills, but also help you with shopping the right outfit for your rides so that you can have the best experience. Be it fitness, being economical, sense of achievement, socializing – we do it all here. Small or big – Everyone is involved, included, and celebrated. We are waiting to ride with you!!” – Anmol Patel 

“Saddle sisters gave me the confidence to ride in a group, go on longer distance rides, and first and foremost make lifelong friendships ❤️.   It was a great way to transition from my solo rides to riding with others which I hadn’t really thought of doing before SSHP.” – Samantha J

“Without Saddle Sisters, I don’t think I would have had the confidence to start cycling. This group has opened so many doors and introduced me to many amazing women. Saddle Sisters is the group that this city has needed for a long time.” – Mary Fudolig

 “Saddle Sisters has created such a great community for me and others. I can see it, hear it, and feel it both on and off the saddle.  Originally, I joined to have the opportunity for more ride options. I have gotten so much more!  I have had the opportunity to create and be part of rides that are welcoming and encouraging. I have been able to share my cycling knowledge and learn from others.

SSHP has provided the opportunity for me to get to know so many people that I may not have otherwise met. They demonstrate their care for each other and the world around them. They demonstrate how strong they are. They have inspired me to try new things.” – Daniela Dighi Hawkins


Saddles Sisters of High Park would like to recognize the wonderful sponsors for their support!

  • The Biking Lawyer
  • The Smoke Bloke
  • Stage 21 
  • D’Ornellas 
  • Dismount
  • Bikes On Wheels
  • UNDA 
  • Day Tripper