Stories & Stuff

O2 riders in the Tour de Victoria

By Al Thimot

Just over ten days ago several of us rode the Tour de Victoria.  Unless you have lived under a rock with no internet connection and haven’t been out on the roads talking with other cyclists you will have heard about our local Gran Fondo, and its illustrious namesake.  This year being the second edition, there were more riders and it was extremely well organized.  O2 had several participants, I know at least 6 of us were there.  Harry, Scott and I rode the 140KM route together for 95% of the ride and had a great time doing so.  Keith was up the road from us (as we were delayed by an incursion into the ditch) and met up with several other riders who were keen to keep a fast pace going.  Izzy and Denise both did the 100KM route.


Scott, Harry and Alan


Killing it on Munns

Denise on Dallas Rd

This weekend there will be 3 of us tackling the Axel Merckx Gran Fondo Okanagan.  Harry, Ron & I will be out there riding the 160KM route.  Hopefully running into Axel and Eddie!  Pictures and stories to follow.


Rides with Bob and Cudd

By Bart McCombe

My rides did not start with organized rides like the Burnside. My organized rides started when I was in high school. We would meet after school at Bob’s house. We would ride to a town called Headingley which was a good 40k ride. WHAT? Hey! Heady What? Does this sound foreign to you? It should! Because I grew up in Winnipeg. Bob and Cudd (short for Scott) and I rode for a local business called “Gord’s Ski Centre”. As Juniors, We rode local, regional, national and international road races-stage races and some track races. We rode the Tour de abitibi a few times. The International stage race was in Vermillion, South Dakota. We did that one a couple of times- Beer -Race-Beer- Race. This was in Late 70s.The attitude of the average person was that the bicycles were toys. We had a lot of close calls with the motorists of that time. This is just one of our stories.

We were out on a training ride one afternoon. Our route took us out Grant Ave. Past the Perimeter bridge, and riding the back road towards Headingley. Just as soon as we had gone over the bridge. A car was honking its horn for us to get out of the way! Bob answered him back with the one fingered Hawaiian salute. Well that car honked and yelled as they went by and that was that. So we thought! A few minutes later as we rode past a private driveway. This man lunged at us with an axe as we went by just missing Bob’s head. The man and Bob exchanged more words, and off we rode towards our goal. To our surprise we had a car try to run us off the road, his car, not just once but twice.This is not a position to be in. Someone could get seriously hurt. Thank the lords, the man’s friends’ intervened before any of that could happen. Present day these kind of situations still exsist . So when a car honks, just wave. It might just be a friend.

Stay tuned for more rides with Bob and Cudd

Best Regards

Bart McCombe

The Burnside Ride

By Pat Leask (with input from Pat Ferris)

I fear this may be a rather long story, so grab a beer and sit back…

The rides originally started out from the Wheelers club house that Russ Hay et. al., made for the club in about 1969. The next year the ride became the ‘Burnside’ ride as the club house was across town and difficult to get to. The touring director looked after the rides in those days with Don Fawthorpe cracking the whip in his absence.

The Victoria Cycling Club amalgamated with the Wheelers in about 1970 or 1971. Their president, Dave Ramage, thought it a good move as the Wheelers actually had races to compete in. Some of the VCC refugees were Bernard Destrubbe, Ross Darnell, Terry Isbister and Allan Jones.

Now on to the history of the Burnside “Wheelers” ride…. It’s another story for another time, but I started riding and attending the “Wheelers Ride” in … ahh… 1972. At that time we met at 9AM behind the big concrete wall of Safeway (now the Bingo Palace) right across from where we meet now. Nothing has changed over the years, we left late and all stood around chatting. There were two groups, the “Fast” group and the “Slow” group. The fast group did longer rides (what we do now) and faster but slower than our average ride , it was meant more for those that raced. The “Slow” group which I went in for 2-3 years (with my dad) did about 40 miles at a bit slower pace than our winter paced ride. And yes, back then we all stopped for the stop signs and even put our foot down, not even so much as a “California Stop”. How things change…

At some point the two groups merged, but my foggy brain can not recall when this happned but it was a few years later. The routes we took were always differant, we seldom did the “Standard route” repeatedly. Skip a few years and we are now at the early 1980′s. This ride got to be totaly out of control, and very very dangerous so for a year or two I decided to start riding with the Sidney Velo’s out of Brentwood B ay for some of the weekend rides. They (Wheelers ride) were akin to the Knight Street ride but not as fast. Around this time I lost some interest in racing for awhile and so their rides were a bit easier and more social which is what I was wanting at that point in my life. Then by coincidence one day in the mid to late ’80′s I think it was, I meet up with the Wheelers ride and hopped in with them for the ride. I was blown away, they rode “Two by two”, stopped, signaled and did everything right for a group. Something had seriously changed.

It did not take me long to figure out that two well known and respected brothers who raced took charge of the group and got the ride back to where it was. No small feat by any means. At some point in the early 1990′s I joined the Juan de Fuca Cycling Club of which Luca Segato was the star and Roland Green was a junior just starting out. At some point around 1992 or so (Sorry, I forget) we (Juan de Fuca) decided to start another ride that left UVIC at 9:30 as the Wheelers ride (Still leaving at 9:00 AM) was getting way too big. All were welcome, and the premis of the ride was to be steady… no attacks. This worked well for a couple of months until word got out and everyone from the Wheelers ride migrated over to the UVIC ride. After several months the UVIC ride was dispanded due to the same reason that it was started…. too big. We all then went back to the Wheelers ride at 9:00 AM.

Now, all through the years it was general policy for the whole group to stop when someone had a flat. After a few months (I remember the ride) there was some conflicts starting between those that wanted to go a bit faster and not always stop for flats and those that did. Words were exchanged between a few riders (no, I do not recall who). As a result of this it was decided amongst a few riders (6 or so, and no I was not one of them) to meet at 9:30 for a “Interdominational” ride. The main premise of THIS ride that still goes today, was to have the pace a bit faster (no, not race pace) and a NO WAIT policy for flats. It was designed for those in Cat 3 and up for ability. So, now we have the Wheelers ride at 9AM which was a easier pace ride, waiting for flats and more social. Then the 9:30 ride with a no wait policy and a bit (I said a “bit”…not a flat our race pace ) faster paced ride. These two rides lasted for a fair amount of time and offered all riders of all abilities options for a ride, it also kept the size of the groups down.

However, as time marches on people being people things change, the Wheelers ride died a slow death. Murray Drew was one of the last people to attend the official Wheelers ride but even he at some point converted over to the 9:30 ride. I think it was around the late 90′s when the Wheelers ride folded. So there you have it, everything you wanted to know about the history of this ride.

Do you have a story to share? Personal (Cycling related) or about history of riding in the Victoria area? Please send it to and I will have it posted on the website and let everyone know there is a new story.