The History of the Newmarket Eagles Cycling Club
The Newmarket Eagles were founded in 1985. Tony Osborne, our former president had opened a bicycle shop Eagle Cycle in the strip plaza on Eagle Street in 1985, where he and some of his customers thought it would a great idea to organize some group rides. They had a meeting in May of 1985 to organize group rides from the bike shop. Attending the meeting were Tony Osborne, Nick Broadhead, Bob Clark, Peter Bikeniks, Gord Clark, and Tony Wright. The club was not a formal one with a structure; it was riders who wanted to enjoy the benefits of riding in a group. Similar to today we rode longer distances on Saturdays and Sundays, and on Tuesday evenings there was a hammer ride consisting of innumerable mad sprints on the way to the ‘blasted stump’ in the Holland Marsh. There were about a dozen riders back then, and generally we headed west to the Marsh and beyond as there was not that many paved roads to the east.
In 1986 our club got some structure. Bob Clark became our first President, Gord Clark was our Race Secretary, and Dave Hammond was the Treasurer. The club followed the same riding program. Due to John Fennel’s intercession, we participated in a race in Owen Sound along with clubs from Owen Sound, Collingwood, and Barrie. It went so well that eventually the Inter-Club series was founded. There were about 30 members that year. In 1987 John Fennel became President. That year we became a formal amateur club with letters patent and with an organized structure. Eventually we joined the OCA.
The club’s mission statement in 1987 was “To Promote the Sport of Cycling”, which we have done very well to this day. With the explosion of the popularity of road cycling, we now average over 240 members. Back in the 80s and 90s many of our members joined the club to participate in our Road Races and Time Trials, or the Thursday night Hammer Ride. Our club also hosted several Provincial road races, such as the Provincial Road and Hill Climb Championships, and more recently the Tour De Speed, which was a development race for juniors, and attracted over 120 racers. The main attraction of our club has always been our Group Rides. All our rides, be they club races or weekend group rides have always been based upon one’s ability, so one has the opportunity to ride with riders of similar capabilities. Our ladies have started a women’s ride the EGals that is growing more popular every year.