by Simon Harrington
I am fairly new to road bike racing. My first experience of bike racing came to me when I was out for a cross training ride. I came upon a sign which read “caution bike race in progress” and a group of cyclist and volunteers on the road side. Being of the “A type” personality of course I immediately thought to myself “bike racing, now there’s something I could get into!” I approached a volunteer to ask how I could get involved. The volunteer provided me with a website address and suggested I take a look at the information there.
After doing the internet research, learning such things as club membership, appropriate licensing, types of races and the categories within the races, I was determined this was something I could participate in.
Initially I started with participating in the weekly time trial events. Here I was matching times with some of the junior riders. Even better I was able to see the progression of my own time over the ensuing weeks.
Upon hearing about an upcoming road race, I was eager to give this a try. In speaking with the club organizers and race director, I felt there was a bit of apprehension as to how a Para-cyclist would fit in. I believe this apprehension mainly stemmed from the unknown as the club had never had the experience with a cyclist in a handcycle before. The issue was that of safety, and rightfully so. The club had some initial concerns with respect to the handcycle riding in a pack due to the handcycle’s width and low profile. We also discussed drafting issues, as of course the handcycle would not provide the optimum draft for a conventional bike.
“We did have some initial concerns about a handcycle racing on the road due to the mobility of the handcycle being able to react within the pack if something happened such as breaking, accelerations, cornering and passing during the race. However after some dialogue and trial our concerns were alleviated and the handcycle has become a welcome fixture to our club’s events.” Doug Merrick, 2010-2011 Race Director Comox Valley Cycle Club – Commissaire Level “C”
The race was a success and I have been riding with the club for two seasons now. Participating in the club’s events has greatly increased my knowledge of bike racing and what it is to be a cyclist!
Optional Simon Harrington rides with the Comox Valley Cycle Club.