Posted by Editor on 05/18/21
We are very sorry to report that a long-time member of the Ontario cycling community, Valerie Davidge, passed away on Sunday (May 16th), at the age of 77 after a battle with kidney failure. While not as active in the racing scene for the past two decades, Valerie was instrumental in the growth of cycling during the 1980s and 1990s, serving on the Board of the Ontario Cycling Association, as the Chair of the Ontario Racing Committee, as a national level commissaire and as a race organizer, including the 1995 Road Nationals in Hamilton.
The 1980s was a turbulent time in racing in Ontario - the sport was going through a boom due to the sudden and massive growth of mountain biking, the Olympic silver medal of Ontario's Steve Bauer in 1984 and increased interest in both fitness and environmental transportation.
Valerie, her husband Keith and their two kids - Piers and Ellen - were involved in road and track cycling, and Valerie, with her strong organizational skills, became heavily involved in the racing scene. Besides seeing the family at races (we were running a team), Valerie and I took our commissaires licence course together (taught by the legendary Jim Broomfield).
As I became more involved in the development of mountain biking and the integration of the nascent sport within the OCA and CCA (Canadian Cycling Association), Valerie was moving into a leadership role for what was then the primary racing body in Ontario - the Ontario Racing Committee (ORC). This was a clash of cultures, as mountain biking became part of the OCA and gained equal footing to the road and track crowd at the governance level of the OCA. Many traditional members of the OCA did not take well to this perceived diluting of their power and Valerie faced a lot of pressure as head of the ORC, which I saw first hand.
However, we both worked together at the Board level, and I can honestly say that Valerie worked hard to do what was best for the sport, even though it sometimes made her unpopular with her road and track base - including, at times, her husband Keith, a hardcore road and track guy!
As we entered the 2000s, Valerie pulled back from as much direct involvement in sport organization - I know she was immensely proud of becoming a grandmother - but began to ride her bike again more. She still kept track of what was going on - I would receive regular messages and comments from her about news and events, and even within the last few months she would show up on our social media feeds.
Ontario and Canada have lost an important member of the cycling community. Our best wishes and condolences to Keith, Piers, Ellen and the rest of their family and friends.
Due to the current situation and pandemic restrictions, a private family Funeral Service will take place at Gilbert MacIntyre and Son Funeral Home, Hart Chapel, on Thursday, May 20th, at 1:30 pm. All are welcome to stream the service on the internet via ZOOM. Those wishing to make donations can do so on her memorial page (see link below) to St. John’s Anglican Church, Rockwood.
Note: We do not have any cycling-related photos of Valerie to post, unfortunately - if you happen to have some, please send us one! Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 1:30p.m.
ZOOM link: https://zoom.us/j/92856037263?pwd=TEVlWlZ5TmpaMEd1ZGp3TTBlVWZMUT09
The Obituary and Memory Wall can be found Here.
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