“We’re trying to build a vibrant community among cyclists,” says Patrik Zimmermann, Marketing and Communications Specialist at Ontario Cycling. “This place is not just for the elite. Anyone can do it.”
Ontario Cycling is a Chamber member and is housed in the Mattamy National Cycling Centre – more simply known as the Velodrome. Built for the 2015 Pan Am Games, the enormous, $50-million facility sits just west of Tremaine Road, a view of the escarpment in the distance.
“The facility is so important to Canadian sport and of course Canadian cycling,” says Zimmermann.
Ontario Cycling is the provincial governing body for cycling in Ontario. As such, they promote and develop cycling across various disciplines through local cycling clubs, events and competitions throughout the province. They also provide support and resources to athletes, coaches, officials and clubs to foster participation, safety and growth of cycling at all levels, says Zimmermann.
“We aim to be about operational excellence and strategy, and a pillar of high performance,” he continues. “But we also create events and races that anyone can do.”
As one of only two Olympic-sized velodromes in North America, it hosts numerous national and provincial races throughout the year; which, save for the Nations’ Cup, are free for the community to watch.
“We aim to be a pillar of high performance. But we also create events and races that anyone can do.”
Beginners can also take a step-by-step course for people interested in learning how to ride on the indoor track. (The 250-metre track feature two 42-degree angle banks. The steep incline is the hallmark of high-level indoor riding, made even more impressive when you consider that these bikes have no brakes.) Still, “it’s a well developed course that will provide the confidence needed,” says Zimmermann, noting that beginner riders don’t need any special equipment to start.
These ‘Try the Track” courses can be accessed through the National Cycling Institute of Milton (NCIM), also housed within the building.
Looking to fill the space post-Pan Am Games, the facility now houses special events and summer camps, as well as basketball, volleyball and pickleball. A running track, full training gym, and access to outdoor trails are also part of the facility. A Town of Milton pass grants community members access.
Ontario Cycling is responsible for developing young athletes so they can move onto competing nationally and then internationally. Canadian Olympian and Milton resident Michael Foley and current track world champion Dylan Bibic are examples of athletes who have represented Team Ontario.
And each May for the last seven years, Ontario Cycling hosts Women’s Week, which encourages more women to get on a bike and provides an open, positive space. Rides and webinars are either women-led, women-only or women-dedicated, and include coaching education as well as riders’ classes.
The velodrome is also the site of two Chamber member charity events. Mattamy Homes’ Bike for Brain Health charity ride and the Darling Home for Kids’ Wheels charity ride both use the velodrome as a starting point.
Amy MacLachlan is the Milton Chamber’s Member Support Coordinator. You can reach her at Amy@miltonchamber.ca.