Always In Motion

OCWW Special: Ottawa Women’s Cycling Club

Are you a woman who loves cycling but feels like traditional cycling clubs don’t quite meet your needs? Look no further! The Ottawa Women’s Cycling Club (OWCC) is here to provide a supportive and inclusive community tailored specifically for women cyclists. Founded by Jen Stephenson and Vicki Thomas, two passionate cyclists with a common mission, the OWCC aims to understand and address the unique challenges faced by women in the cycling world.

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in women’s participation in cycling. However, many women struggle to find the right starting point or a welcoming community. The OWCC recognizes this need and strives to be the perfect launching pad for beginners and experienced riders. They believe that if the starting point isn’t the right fit, potential lifelong cyclists may be discouraged and miss out on the joy of this beautiful sport.

Traditional cycling clubs often don’t cater to the needs of women, leaving them feeling out of place. That’s why the Ottawa Women’s Cycling Club is dedicated to providing a space where women can thrive, ride together, mentor the next generation, and embark on exciting new adventures. The OWCC prioritizes the values of camaraderie, support, and visibility in the city, honouring women in the cycling community.

One of their riders beautifully sums up her experience with the OWCC, saying, “I love the supportive camaraderie and the group representation of us in the city. It’s been a supportive group on all levels, and I really like the visibility of us in the city, which reminds me that we are not alone but also that we believe in the objective of honouring women in the cycling community.”

"It's so awesome to see people go from 'I can’t to 'Wow - I did it!'"

At the OWCC, the understanding is that women supporting and encouraging women can create pathways that make cycling more accessible and enjoyable for all. They provide a female-only and female-focused initiative to ensure that women have a safe and welcoming environment to pursue their passion for cycling. The members appreciate being part of a women-only club, as it motivates them from a training perspective and is a valuable source of information on routes, equipment, technique, and more. It offers them opportunities to connect with women from diverse backgrounds who share a love for riding their bikes.

The Ottawa Women’s Cycling Club journey hasn’t always been smooth sailing. The first season saw tremendous success, launching at a time when outdoor activities were in high demand due to the pandemic. The response from the community was overwhelming, with over 100 new members joining the OWCC, far surpassing the initial expectation of around 15. However, as restrictions eased and more activity options became available, consistent engagement in the second year became challenging.

The OWCC has implemented a clear, engaging summer program led by committed ride leaders to address this. This new approach aims to build and maintain engagement among their members. “We believe that by listening to our members’ feedback and delivering the rides and clinics they desire, we can foster a sense of achievement, growth, and enjoyment. The smiling faces at the end of our clinics and group rides are a testament to the fact that people are accomplishing their goals, learning new skills, and having a great time,” share Jen and Vicki from OWCC, proudly.

“It’s so awesome to see people go from ‘I can’t to ‘Wow – I did it!'” Vicki and Jen added. The club serves as a gateway for riders, providing them with the support and encouragement they need to push their boundaries. Our riders are inspired to try new things and push themselves further, all while forging meaningful connections with fellow cyclists.

So, whether you’re a seasoned cyclist seeking a community that understands your unique needs or a beginner searching for the perfect starting point, the Ottawa Women’s Cycling Club is here to empower you on your cycling.