by Cara Williams, photography by Jody Wilson 

As Collingwood Collective Racing continues to pedal forward, it does so with the community’s heart beating strong at its core, promising a brighter, more inclusive future for youth cycling. 

In the scenic town of Collingwood, a cycling revolution is quietly unfolding, driven by the vision and dedication of the Collingwood Collective Racing (CCR) team. Founded in 2022 by Bruce Zigman, with the invaluable support of head coach Erik Lehmann, CCR is not just another competitive cycling team; it’s a community initiative and a testament to the power of sports in shaping young lives. 

Bruce Zigman, owner of Summit Social House, Collingwood’s first bike café, and the visionary behind CCR, embarked on this journey with a clear goal: to foster young talent and revive Collingwood’s cycling race scene. “I grew up cycling, and I knew with the opening of Summit Social House, I’d have a team associated with it. So, I started Collinwood Collective Racing with the goal to help create a team environment and help fund and develop aspiring cyclists in the community.”

The 2023 season was a resounding affirmation of CCR’s burgeoning prowess, with the team marking over 100 race entries and securing more than 60 podium finishes, including 20 first places. However, CCR’s impact transcends mere numbers; it has become a source of motivation and hope for young cyclists in the region, fostering a sense of community and belonging.

At the heart of CCR’s mission is the Kids on Bikes on Monday Nights program, which, under the guidance of over 20 volunteer coaches, introduces over 60 kids to the joy of mountain biking. The program is a microcosm of CCR’s broader objectives: to instill a love for the outdoors, discipline, and a sense of adventure in the youth. “Erik approached me at the end of year one, asking if we should launch a Youth Skills Camp,” says Bruce. “It was a massive success in the community. The kids were happy, parents were happy, community sponsors of the race team were all happy.”

Erik Lehmann, as head coach and program coordinator, plays a pivotal role in translating CCR’s vision into tangible outcomes. Lehmann’s dedication to volunteer coaching and his strategic approach to youth development underscore the unique ethos of CCR. “One of the most unique things about the program is that we are sponsoring a youth race team,” says Erik. “Through our sponsorship, we give them some support for race fees and a small clothing allowance, so at least their base race kit is provided each season.”

Looking ahead, CCR is expanding its horizons with the introduction of a 10-week Youth Development Program, aimed at nurturing future champions. This initiative, alongside the Kids on Bikes on Monday Nights program and the competitive race team, forms the three pillars of CCR’s strategy to foster cycling talent. “We’re gearing this towards the kids that are a little more enthusiastic about advancing their skills and trying some racing,” says Erik, highlighting the program’s goal to bridge the gap between casual riding and competitive racing.

As CCR gears up for another exciting season, the collective efforts of its leaders, volunteers, and the community at large stand as a shining example of how sports can be a powerful tool for community development and youth empowerment. Bruce and Erik’s shared vision has not only put Collingwood back on the map in the Ontario bike racing scene but has also built a legacy that will inspire young cyclists for generations to come. E


For those looking to learn more or get involved, CCR encourages enthusiasts and supporters to reach out via