Lake City Cycle Club Just One of Many Inspired by Pro Cyclists
When an event like the Giro di Burnaby presented by Appia Development brings world class athletes to the community, it has a positive impact on residents and businesses alike. And one of the more recent impacts of the Giro di Burnaby is the founding of the Lake City Cycle Club. It is a dynamic cycling club in the City of Burnaby, the members are involved in this year’s Giro as volunteers, and President Joanie Caron has raced it and other BC Superweek events in the past.
One of the goals of the Lake City Cycle Club is like that of the Giro di Burnaby – it has to do with growing cycling at a grassroots level. “We hope to connect road cyclists in Burnaby and provide an environment where they can not only ride together but also “grow” together and improve through organized group rides, coached workouts, cycling specific workshops, and social activities,” said Caron. “We want to basically build a “Burnaby Cycling Community” that involves first the riders, but also businesses in the city and influencers.”
Part of that “Burnaby Cycling Community” is the Giro di Burnaby, which takes over Hastings Street between MacDonald and Madison on Thursday, July 11th. The 1.14 kilometre criterium sees the riders compete for more than $15,000 in prize money and primes. Caron, who has over 50 podiums in her professional career, knows that even though not everyone who gets on a bike will end up like those riding in the Giro di Burnaby, the event still inspires many to try the sport.
“Obviously, criterium racing takes it to a whole other level than getting out the door and riding a bike. The speed, the adrenalin, the proximity (how we ride close to each other) means that we are constantly pushing the limit… always out of the comfort zone,” the 33-year-old explained. “Nobody was born a professional cyclist and we all needed to learn, practice, fall, grow and improve. It is a sometimes painful but beautiful process.” Caron herself has raced numerous times at the Giro di Burnaby, including a seventh-place finish in 2015. She also was the BC Superweek overall champion in 2012 and represented Canada in Rio at the 2016 Paralympic Games.
In addition to equal prize money for men and women, the Giro di Burnaby also features the Boffo Breve presented by Boffo Developments. The race sees boys and girls aged 12-to-16 go head-to-head on the same course the pros will ride later in the evening. Caron has seen firsthand the benefits of getting involved in the sport at a young age.
“I really hope it inspires young girls to get on bikes or involved in any sport. The Giro does a fantastic job in showcasing and promoting women’s cycling,” she added. “I encourage anyone to set goals and push themselves out of their comfort zone, whether it is to ride your first Fondo, ride 50 or 100 kilometres or whatever. “The more people on bikes, the more power we can have to advocate for safe riding infrastructures – the bike path on Willingdon Avenue in Burnaby is a beautiful example of this.”
Not everyone can race like 2018 Giro di Burnaby winners Eric Young and Summer Moak, but the beauty of just getting on a bike is that the benefits are many. “Cycling is a low-impact activity, easy to get started, allows you to build fitness while seeing the world, connect with like-minded individuals, even ride for charities,” Caron added. “It combines many of the spheres that leads to an overall well-being – physical, emotional, social and mental health.”
As for the Lake City Cycle Club, it came from recognizing an opportunity in the Burnaby community. “Through my work overseeing the indoor cycling studio at Fortius Sport & Health in Burnaby for the past five years, I’ve witnessed riders wanting to get together on rides and connect,” said Caron. A number of those riders will connect on a different level when they convene on July 11th as volunteers at the Giro di Burnaby.