With their brightly coloured jerseys making members hard to miss as they tour Creston Valley roads, the Creston Valley Cycling Club (CVCC) has started its 10th season.
About 18 riders — the oldest is 77 — have signed so far this season to take part in a schedule that includes rides up the lake and around the valley — even up Kootenay Pass and beyond.
“It’s a nice feeling of achievement to be up on the summit,” said president Merv Hutchinson.
The club starts out with less challenging rides early in the season, working up to rides up the summit, which may continue with lunch at the Dragonfly Café in Salmo, then back over summit or through Nelson and across the Kootenay Lake ferry. Trips up the lake to Crawford Bay a couple of times a season are also on Hutchinson’s schedule.
Some of the roads aren’t the most bicycle friendly, so members of the club, which is affiliated with Cycling BC, are taught to be cautious.
“We teach safety within the club,” Hutchinson said. “That’s why our jerseys are so bright.”
They’re always on the lookout for traffic, with drivers unaware of laws designed to protect cyclists — allowing a metre between them and a car, for example.
“There are those who see just how close they can get,” said Hutchinson.
The benefits of cycling stretch beyond the obvious — from cardiovascular workout to simply enjoying the valley’s beauty — and are useful in other aspects of life, said Hutchinson.
He rode as a teen but traded his wheels for a pair of speed skates. But he found that his skating hit a plateau.
“I was getting beat,” he said. “I’d ask, ‘What are you doing that I’m not doing?’ ”
The answer was cycling, so Hutchinson hopped back on a bike in his 40s, and has kept at it for over 25 years.
There are many other experienced cyclists in the club, but newcomers don’t need to worry that they’ll be the odd one out.
“We never leave anybody behind,” Hutchinson said.
The CVCC rides three times a week, Monday and Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings, and to accommodate all skill levels, may split into two groups, giving the less competitive group a head start, so all riders finish around the same time.
“The whole thing is meant to be social,” he said.
For more information, contact Merv Hutchinson at 250-402-3342.