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The top 5 cycling clubs in Toronto

Posted by Derek Flack / April 29, 2014

cycling clubs torontoThe top cycling clubs in Toronto range from the recreational to the race-ready with a fair number of options in between. While there's a little bit of a learning curve affiliated with group riding, most would say that it's more entertaining that slogging through the kilometres all on your own. It's also easier to go long distances, as you'll benefit from being able to draft behind other riders (just make sure to do your turn at the front).

Cycling clubs offer camaraderie, training tips, and, in some cases, pro-like kits that'll have you looking like you're ready to dance up Mount Ventoux without a chain. In addition to organized clubs, local riders eager to get their feet wet with group riding might also consider the Donut Ride, an informal but regular group jaunt that departs from Eglinton and Laird on Saturday mornings.

See also: The best custom and road bike shops in Toronto

Toronto Bicycling Network (TBN)
Geared towards beginners and enthusiasts, the TBN has long been the best place to turn Toronto cycling into a social activity. With regular rides of widely varying distances (and speeds), this is the type of club that offers something for almost all riders. There's even group mountain bike rides through Don Valley. Rides take place throughout the week during peak cycling season.

Morning Glory Cycling Club
With rides in Leaside, High Park and Oakville, Morning Glory covers a lot of territory. It also does a lot of rides -- in fact, there's one every day if the weather cooperates. Despite their frequency, these rides are typically well organized and attended. This is a club for folks who are capable of hoping on a bike and riding +50km, and so not for outright novices, but those looking to increase the distance and speed at which they ride will find a happy home here.

Midweek Cycling Club
If you want to learn how to race, this is the club for you. Although there are weekend club rides to participate in, it's the Monday learn-to-race series and the Tuesday night crits that are the main draw here. If you think you've built up your fitness enough to test it in a competitive environment, a crit is a great way to start. Big points given here for the work the club does to de-mystify bike racing, which can be daunting for those just getting into it.

D'Ornellas
D'Ornellas is a well-rounded bike club that brings together enthusiast road riders of various levels. The 25 year old club is perfect for east enders, with a starting point of Lawrence and Victoria Park. Rides typically head north out of the city to Markham and Stouffville and come in a variety of lengths depending on the skill level of the riders participating. Popular rides talk place on the weekends, but there's also some midweek activity as well.

Beaches Cycling Club
The Beaches Cycling club started as an informal group ride back in 2007, and has grown into a 100+ strong club with rides scheduled Tuesday through Saturday (plus hill intervals on Thursday). Most rides are enthusiast friendly and relatively laid back, but if you're a racer looking to stretch his or her legs, the Tuesday advanced ride is fast-paced and populated with competitive cyclists who know how to stomp it.

BONUS

Blacksmith Cycle
Probably the best club for sheer bike nerds, Blacksmith's weekly ride is typically composed of bike industry types (Cervelo employees are a common sight) and local racers looking to put in some group miles. The level of rider is quite high, but the pace of the rides are reasonable, so you don't necessarily have to worry about constantly being dropped. Rides take place on Saturdays and cover about 85km.

Photo by Ben Roffelsen in the blogTO Flickr pool

Discussion

19 Comments

Redditor / April 29, 2014 at 01:46 pm
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I play Excitebike in my mom's basement. I never have to leave the couch unless it's to get Cheetos.
Don't forget Torba! / April 29, 2014 at 01:56 pm
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TORBA!!!!
http://torontooffroad.blogspot.ca/
Wild Betty / April 29, 2014 at 02:18 pm
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Check out the Wild Bettys for a fantastic women's only mountain bike club. We ride every Tuesday night in the Don and welcome riders at every level.

There is a sign up social tonight, Tuesday April 29th, from 5:30pm-9pm at Sport Swap (1541 Bayview Ave), so come check us out!
Shanny / April 29, 2014 at 04:43 pm
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You could add to the list LapDogs Cycling Club.. based out of Duke's Cycle
Garth / April 29, 2014 at 06:44 pm
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We at MGCC actually have learn to ride sessions every We'd and Fri too
Peter Kofman / April 29, 2014 at 06:52 pm
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All great clubs teams mentioned!
But dont forget us !!!
Erace Cancer Cycling Team p/b La Bicicletta
A OCA team club with fifty racers and members. We race road, mountain and cyclocross
Our members and athletes race their bikes while raising money and gaining exposure for Kids Cancer programs at Camp OOchigeas.
We race ,train and have fun in the name of a important cause.
bob / April 29, 2014 at 10:48 pm
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This is such a poorly informed article, take what is written with a grain a salt. All the clubs listed do so much more than what is presented, and as mentioned by several other commenters it fails to mention many of the other active clubs in the city like the lapdogs, dark horse flyers, wild Betty's etc.
Thea / April 29, 2014 at 11:36 pm
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I think this isn't really a great gauge on the top cycling clubs in Toronto. Have you ridden with them all? And if so, have you ridden all the skill-level rides or gone to any of the social events? It really takes a few rides to get a feel for the club atmosphere and get to know what's really offered at each club, in my opinion.
roberto / April 30, 2014 at 06:55 am
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funny how the title picture (wheels of bloor racing team) has no mention in the article!?
Mike / April 30, 2014 at 02:31 pm
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Not a club per se, but a large group of enthusiasts in the Toronto Bike Meetup group. All kinds of rides from rec to workout. Free to join: http://www.meetup.com/TorontoBikeMeetup/
Chris / April 30, 2014 at 06:58 pm
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Top 5 based on what criteria?

What about Chain Reaction? Or Etobicoke Cycling Club? Or Wheels of Bloor? The list goes on and on. As a previous commenter noted you need to experience a club to make an assessment.
bikethrow / May 1, 2014 at 07:07 pm
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the truth: most bike clubs are all the same to some degree. affinity for one specifically is built from the friendships aquired within. you can't be friends with 50, 100 or 200 people but you will find a small group of like minded individuals within and that defines the whole club for you. so stop crying because your club wasn't mentioned and just continue to ride with the people you ride with. more than likely other people dont want to ride with you anyways because you are a big crybaby. #MFDCR
mark / May 2, 2014 at 10:32 am
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I agree with bikethrow. Stop whining and just STFU & Ride.
mark / May 2, 2014 at 10:34 am
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In addition Wheels of Bloor is not a club it's a private amateur race team.
Paul / May 3, 2014 at 08:32 am
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I do agree that this list is not exhaustive and there are a lot of good clubs in the GTA with each one likely having own distinct charm that separates them from their counterparts. In the end, it doesn't really matter that they didn't name drop every club because this is an opinion piece and is subject to Derek's obvious bias anyway.
richard b / May 4, 2014 at 10:20 pm
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I'm a Dark Horse and it's no biggie that my club didn't make this list; it's just a survey with a few of the names that could crop up in the conversation if somebody asks. From what I know of them they're all good clubs. What Blog TO needs to know is that the cycling club community in Toronto is really deep and varied; and there is a very good, in depth article just waiting to be written here about the explosive growth of the sport here over the last five or six years. Send somebody out on a few club beginner rides or go check out a couple of OCUP races to start to get a sense of it.
David / May 7, 2014 at 11:08 am
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For those looking for casual, social or moderate rides with single-speed and fixed bikes please check out our bike club: http://torontoss.com
Lela Gary replying to a comment from Peter Kofman / July 10, 2014 at 10:37 pm
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Peter Kofman, I appreciate the enthusiasm and willingness to do good while having fun at the same time, but I detest the orgs that take advantage of public good will for their own gain. The Cancer Society is notorious on this, they devote only 11% of the money cyclists earn for their rides, and the rest of it goes to administration, aka their own salaries.Nor do they support Prevention of the illness; why kill the goose that lays the golden egg?
I am a cyclist, and an environmentalist and has written on Cancer,health effect of air pollutants.
Peter Kofman / July 12, 2014 at 07:26 am
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Lela Gary

I agree with you. I detest organizations that use charity as a way to feather their own nest. Our organization ( basically a bike race team ) Erace Cancer Cycling Team b/p La Bicicletta www.eracecancer.ca. has raised approximately $120,000.00 for Camp Oochigeas ( www.ooch.org ) over the past 2 years. We are a small, grass roots organization that races bikes to raise money in order to help support kids cancer support programs. For the record , in our case , all monies for charity go to the charity. We have a few sponsors that give us $1000.00 every year to simply run the team.We make it clear that those funds are not going to the charity but are provided to assist in running the team. All other administration costs are provided by team members, supporters and sponsors with no pay and in the interest of supporting our cause. I feel good about what we do as a team and am proud of everyone involved in our effort. We chose a local charity Camp Oochigeas because of the good work they do.

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