Something Social: Cycling in South Delta
When Mike Cornelius began cycling for fun and fitness he mostly kept to himself at his own pace. He was curious when seeing riders in uniforms but felt intimidated to approach any groups.
Then a friend of his began riding with the Boundary Bay Cycling Club (BBCC) and invited him to try as well. He gave it a shot and never really looked back.
“Often when you’re riding by yourself you might not push quite as hard, and so it challenges you that way,” explains Mike. “It gets you comfortable riding in close proximity to others. It is a little intimidating to start but anybody can come and join and they welcome you.”
The BBCC is a good beginner cycling group and will teach you about things like riding close to other cyclists, safety tips and your role in leading and drafting. Because they’re used to beginners, they won’t leave stragglers behind and will slow down to allow others to catch up.
“It’s a beginner group ride that, as you progress and get fitter, it may be not as much of a challenge as with the South Delta Riders,” says Mike, adding that at that time some choose to then ride with that group.
Bill MacMillan joined the South Delta Riders (SDR) about a year after it was started informally in 1996. The group rides about one to three times a week with cyclists ranging in age from their mid-thirties to their seventies.
SDR has grown to about 50 riders and they have their own riding kits with jerseys and shorts.“We’re fortunate that here in Tsawwassen and Ladner there’s a lot of routes we can take where there’s relatively light traffic and not a lot of stops so we can kind of wind our way along safely on secondary roads,” says Bill. “The beauty of cycling is that if you’re a slower rider when you’re in a group you can stay towards the back and let the riders in the front push the wind and do harder work.”
The common link in the group is that everyone is riding for fun and fitness. Many people get involved in cycling because they developed injuries in running and riding a bike can be more forgiving on the body.
When it comes to the BBCC, thanks to Delta’s flat farmlands, there is some very forgiving terrain for beginners. But Mike points out they still manage to seek out some steep hills. One such route involves heading up the hill on 56th Street into Point Roberts, while another takes them into North Delta’s Panorama Ridge and down into White Rock.
“We deal more with wind out here, which people don’t think about until you start riding a bike,” says Mike, laughing. “And it can have a wonderful effect when it’s with you and a very adverse effect when it’s against you.”
In both groups there are people from all walks of life and ages and backgrounds, but Mike says none of that matters once they start riding.
“They’re all just kids on a bike at that point and they’re loving it,” he says with a boyish grin.
If you’re looking to get into road cycling you’re looking at about a $1,000-$1,500 minimum investment for a bike. The Delta Bike Company, located on 12th Avenue in Tsawwassen, is a good place to get started. You can speak to any SDR or BBCC rider, who can often be found at Petra’s Café in Tsawwassen recovering after a ride or check their web sites.
For more information about either club you can find them on Facebook.