Always In Motion

Ontario Cycling Community Spotlight – Manuel Avelar

At the Ontario Cycling 2024 Track Provincials, Pedal Power Photography discovered that Manuel Avelar, a retired, National Portuguese Record holding professional cyclist was helping adjust his grandson’s bicycle in the infield. Manuel, the grandfather of KW Cycling Academy’s, Evan Lucas, share a passion for cycling and through that has been able to assist Evan with his bike maintenance and race preparation.

Manuel held the National Portuguese Record in the 200-meter sprint, across several decades, with it only being recently broken in the 2010s. He also owned a bicycle shop in Portugal named Casa Lino, where he helped spread his love for cycling within his community.

Pedal Power Photography, Nial & Ines Fisher, had heard about Manuel’s achievements and approached him, eager to learn more. After speaking with both Manuel and his daughter Kelly, they were given the image on the left, which is an original photo of an 18-year-old Manuel in his pro-cycling kit. Pedal Power had Manuel recreate this image to showcase a life dedicated to cycling.

OC (Ontario Cycling), Pedal Power, and Commentator Chris Kiriakopoulos asked Manuel to present the podium medals and Provincial Championship Jerseys for the Provincial Keiren Medal Ceremony. Manuel was more than happy to help and relished the opportunity to give each rider their own words of wisdom and congratulations.

We sat down with Manuel afterwards to hear his his story and the role cycling has played in his life.

before and after image of Manuel Avelar posing with his bicyle, in cycling hat and looking off in the distance

All Photos Provided By: Pedal Power Photography

Manuel Avelar dressing a rider in her gold medal

When did you start cycling and how did it transition from hobby to profession?

I started cycling when I was 17 for an amateur team near by. When I was 21 a pro team offered to pay the rent for my bike shop, Casa Lino, if I joined their team.

What about track cycling was so appealing to compete in over another discipline like road?

My favourite discipline was the road, but I really enjoyed racing on the track as well, especially doing match sprints and individual pursuits.

How has cycling impacted your life and your family life? In what areas has cycling brought you closer together?

Cycling brought me many friendships along the years. Cycling has positively impacted my life as well, as it was an activity for me and my son, Rui, and now my grandson, Evan, and I to do together regularly.

When owning Casa Lino, what was your number one piece of advice for new riders?

My number one piece of advice was that you must dedicate yourself to the sport to succeed in it. You must completely change the way you live your life.

Manuel Avelar, wearing dress shirt and pants, and cycling cap discussing race tactics with his grandson in full racing kit

Manuel Avelar pictured discussing race tactics with grandson Evan Lucas

Manuel Avelar handing a Provincial Championship Jersey to race winner

Where and how would you like to see the cycling community grow?

We need to advertise cycling more so that there is more interest in it. Now, if you want to know more about cycling you need to go looking for it, you do not see cycling on the TV or in journals like other sports.

Besides owning a national record, what is your favourite memory on a bicycle?

My favourite memory was winning a race in Pêro Pinheiro. A train had been crossing so two breakaway riders got a large gap to the group, I bridged solo and ended up beating them in a sprint. Out of all my victories it is the one I remember the most.