In 1985, six dedicated cyclists met a representative from the OCA who outlined the benefits of forming an official club. They took the plunge and started the Newmarket Eagles Cycling Club, one of the most respected bike clubs in the Province, run entirely by its members.
One of the founding members, Tony Osborne, owned Eagle Cycle, a bike shop on Eagle Street in Newmarket and so the name was transferred to the club. Tony went on to serve over 10 years as President as well as being its unofficial TT coordinator for many years beyond that. The weekly TT’s were the club’s first organized competitive events and it soon added club races to its schedule. After that, it joined forces with two other north-of-Toronto clubs to hold what became known as the Interclub race series. All the road races were run in the Australian pursuit format and they continue to this day. This was grassroots racing at its finest, as all levels of ability were able to participate and compete by grouping riders according to ability and having the slower groups start first. The small groups provided a safe introduction to road racing and the less experienced were able to learn group riding skills at race speeds without the intimidation of a large pack.
The annual club schedule typically lists over 30 racing events and is why the club has garnered the respect of the racing community. It has produced numerous serious racers over the years including Provincial and National medal winners.
Ten years ago the club launched an initiative to promote youth cycling. It has since held many clinics and as well as successful races called the Tour of Speed. It was the first such event in the current OCA’s Youth Series and immediately became the model for others to follow.
The group rides and social events, which form the backbone of any successful club, continue to run throughout the year. Many of the members gather at a local coffee shop after the regular Saturday morning ride or race to discuss the strengths and weaknesses that each demonstrated that morning. The key to club success has been its members, who have participated in large numbers and volunteered when called upon.
The original founding members of the Newmarket Eagles have either moved on or accumulated many grey hairs. Only two are active. The starting roster of six has now grown to over 200 and continues to increase yearly. People have come and gone but the club work ethic remains in place. It is an excellent example of what a volunteer organization can accomplish when it is comprised of individuals who are passionate about what they do.
Did You Know?
The Newmarket Eagles launched in 1985!
Tony Osborne ran a bike shop on Eagle St. in Newmarket which inspired the name "Newmarket Eagles"
The Newmarket Eagles won Canadian and Ontario Cycling Associations "Road Club of the Year" in 2007
Eagles member and Pan-Am bronze medalist Ed Veal set the Canadian "Hour Record" at the Milton Velodrome on April 10, 2015. In 2016, cheer for Ed, who will be representing Canada at the Track World Championships.
NECC was the first Ontario cycling club to organize a OCA Youth Cup event and 2016 will be the 10 year anniversary of its Tour de Speed
In a typical year, at least 60 NECC members volunteer their time to run the club's events
NECC awards about 30 trophies and medals at its annual awards banquet in November, including the much-sought after “OUCHIE” and "BEST DOMESTIQUE" trophies
Every year 25-30 NECC members volunteer to clean a section of Kennedy Road under York Region’s Adopt-a-Road program
NECC has two active cycling members who are over 80 years of age!