Just when the world had settled into a pattern of working out how to manage self-isolation and physical distancing, we find ourselves now in the position of trying to figure out what comes next. The Province of Ontario is slowly coming back to life and in the big picture that will involve a return to sport and recreation. What is still unfolding is what steps are involved and if anything is salvageable.
This return to a ‘new normal’ is not without its challenges and remains a work in progress for those in the event part of the cycling world. Dan Marshall, Principal of Substance Events, says that they typically run 12-16 events in a year. “Since the COVID-19 pandemic we have not run any events, and while we hope to be back on dirt in the fall of 2020, we don’t really know if that will be possible,” said Marshall.
For Performance Drive Events Founder and President Greg Rawson the story is much the same with about 15 – 20 events on a normal annual calendar. “At this point, I’ve come to the realization that our sector will likely be the last to re-open. If we’re able to start up again by August 1st, PDE will be able to still execute 6-7 events,” he said.
In these uncharted territories, Jim Crosscombe, Ontario Cycling Association’s Chief Executive Officer is focused on the big picture. The big picture includes ongoing assessment of Ontario’s guidelines from the pandemic and how they fit into cycling in general and more specifically the sport’s many stakeholders.
“It (COVID-19) has changed everything. There are no events. All events up and into July are cancelled and we just don’t know when that will change. Our revenue has gone to zero with high levels of refunds even though some supplies that have already been ordered need to be paid for,” commented Pulse Racing Inc’s Event Director (Owner) Glenn Meeuwisse.
“The pandemic has thrown everything for the cycling family externally into a state of flux. The fluid and changing nature of the situation is why the work that is ongoing from within the organization is so important,” said Crosscombe.
The truth is that although it may not appear like it on the surface, the work continues for the Provincial Sport Organization and the membership revenue collected is ensuring that the Ontario Cycling Association can be at the ready to resume safely and seamlessly when the time comes into whatever the season brings. Nobody would say that belonging to the Ontario Cycling Association is essential, although many would see that having the chance to get back up and running as quickly as possible would be the best-case scenario.
President of Superfly Racing and Vice–President of Chico Racing, Sean Ruppel said by email that there may be a couple of silver linings to the COVID-19 cloud:
“1. A resurgence in bike sales! Yes, bike shops are running out of bikes! 2. People are going to do things closer to home and more local! Flying all over the world will no longer be an inexpensive and normal thing.”
Ruppel also mentions that once things reopen that people will hopefully have a better appreciation for the outdoors while understanding the risks of living in an urban environment.
Jim Crosscombe commented, “weighing the plans against the support of the membership that we have received has been a delicate balance and one that we are taking to heart. We know that it isn’t possible for everyone to remain involved but are grateful for those who are able to ride this out with us.”
If you want to connect with Ontario Cycling with any questions or feedback, please email us at email@example.com. For more information, visit the website: www.ontariocycling.org
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