Who We Are
Welcome to TRAILBLAZERS Tandem cycling club! I am very excited to be a part of this group as the President this year. I have been riding a bike since I was a young girl. I recall one of my favourite used bikes - a banana seat with tassels hanging from my V shaped high riser handle bars and plastic coloured spokes twirling around making a slight clicking sound. Prior to that, I have memories of riding my big wheel bike, then balancing on uneven training wheels and later moving to a similar bike which my brother had, where we played “Chips” - riding together in unison. While in university I rode to classes and spent a lot of time riding to the movies in Thornhill and having picnics and getting lost in the city bike trails. I enjoyed going for long bike rides and frequently challenged myself. It was during this time that I also taught my younger brother to ride his first bike in a parking lot close to where we lived. That was a nail biting summer, frantically trying to maintain his attention and looking straight ahead and not at the cars which he so loved. My bike at that time weighed a ton and it was an amusing conversational piece amongst my cycling friends. I so appreciated getting this bike from a university friend. This bike took me to many places, and gave me an opportunity to meet many terrific people.
Prior to joining TRAILBLAZERS I started to lose more sight and had to ride with someone in front, following their every move. Eventually, with the use of an ear piece and hands free voice activated “walkie talkie”, which was helpful for pot holes, van mirrors, passing other cyclist, and narrow spaces. This worked well for a few years until I lost more vision. I went through a period of not being active for a year or so. My mother, the former president of TRAILBLAZERS, suggested that I go out for a bike ride on a tandem, as she did every year. I accepted her offer and I have enjoyed it ever since. I have been tandem cycling and dragon boating, living an active life where I have a wonderful opportunity to meet great people and explore the city such as Lake Simcoe, Niagara Region, as well as travel to other parts of the country.
I would like to thank my Mom, Lynda Spinney, for the 18 years of being a TRAILBLAZERS member and 10 years of being the President. Her tireless work, dedication and passion to the vision loss and biking community are well respected. I am very proud of her and know it will be difficult to fill her shoes. I am also very pleased to be working with an Executive Board that will continue to support the tandem cycling club which has grown over the past few years under her leadership.
I would like to encourage anyone, whether you have vision loss or not, to join our tandem cycling group. Everyone is welcome to come out for a ride, either on their own bike, or simply sign up for an orientation where you will learn all you need to know about riding a tandem bike.
Lynda, Past President
My name is Lynda Spinney, and I have been involved with this amazing organization for over 18 years, and I truly believe in the club’s mission and what we stand for. What a better way to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and meet new people than on a tandem!
I joined TRAILBLAZERS in 1999, the same year I met my Husband, Chris Spinney, who also was a captain at the time and now the Operations Manager for TRAILBLAZERS. That same year, I became Treasurer and almost every year after, I have sat on the Executive in various capacities. I took a break in 2005-2007 for personal reasons. I have volunteered for, and worked for, many not-for-profits which helped me build the skills required to successfully run a Not-for-profit organization. I have been instrumental in helping Trailblazers obtain and retain their status as a Registered Charity.
During my years with TRAILBLAZERS, I gained a real sense of what it means to run an organization, and the administrative skills behind this; I enjoy organizing, and creating spreadsheets; running raffles; getting prizes for events; and, fundraising.
I will not be far from Trailblazers, even if I leave the role of president. I can most definitely be found on the back of our tandem enjoying one of the club’s many group rides.
Past President: 2002 - 2005; 2007 - 2009; 2011- 2018
Treasurer: 1999 - 2002
Ride Convenor: 2010 – 2011
Chelsea, Vice President
My name is Chelsea Mohler. I joined the TRAILBLAZERS in 2011 after I moved back to Toronto upon completing graduate school. I had heard about tandem cycling, but never tried it. The only cycling I had done prior to TRAILBLAZERS was at the gym at those intensive spin classes. I learned at my first orientation how very different tandem riding was from a spin bike, and I fell in love with the idea of being able to ride tandem outdoors. I have been on the executive for the past five years - first as a Public Relations Representative and now in my current role as Vice President. I am excited to meet new captains and stokers and say hello to old friends. When I am not cycling, I enjoy competing in triathlons (both sprint and Olympic) and running half marathons. I am also interested in the latest gadgets and technology and enjoy reading and researching what new toy to buy next. I look forward to a full cycling season ahead and to exploring new parts of Toronto.
The 2013 Bike Show was an eventful experience for me. My wife and I were introduced to Trailblazers and I was asked if I would consider being a ‘Captain’ to ride with ‘Stokers’. It was an amazing opportunity which I felt truly fortunate to have been offered. I was already an avid cyclist, averaging over 10,000 kilometres a year on my road bike. Sharing my passion and love for cycling with someone else was the perfect next step for me to take. Until this past year, I rode as a captain, volunteered with registering members for Trailblazers and encouraged volunteers each year at the Bike Show. This upcoming year, I was pleased to accept the nomination and position of Treasurer. I have been a controller working in the industry for the last 40 years and I volunteer my accounting skills in a variety of different ways. This felt like a natural progression of my commitment to Trailblazers. I look forward to working with a great group of people for many more years, both in the administration of Trailblazers and, on the front of a tandem bike with a wonderful group of stokers.
My first experience with the TRAILBLAZER club was on my own single bike on the Lake Simcoe ride. The weather was perfect and the scenery was amazing. Not long into the ride I became an unexpected willing volunteer assisting with directions to keep everyone on route and providing assistance if required as everyone could ride at their own pace. The tandem bikes were turning heads and I knew then it was definitely something I wanted to be a part of. I attended the orientation, as it was recommended prior to getting on a tandem. I found the orientation was helpful and gave me the necessary skills to start riding a tandem. I am considered a volunteer but I am going to let you in on a little secret…I am the one that is given the opportunity to ride a tandem and be involved in a club that is inclusive, fun and rewarding for me. What I enjoy the most is the peddle power, we can sure get those bikes moving, it is a feeling hard to explain. It must be experienced.
Chris, Operations Manager
Uwe, Ride Convenor
My name is Uwe, I am 40 years old and originally from Germany. I am blind and ride as a stoker. I have been a TRAILBLAZERS member since 2008 and have participated in many rides. The Ride Convenor is responsible to match stokers with suitable captains. I am currently the Ride Convenor serving the third year in this role.
Including cycling, I enjoy exploring new restaurants and cafes in Toronto; you certainly can call me a foodie! Other hobbies include going to concerts, listening to music, going for walks and playing chess.
Debbie, Public Relations Representative
My name is Debbie, I have been a member of TRAILBLAZERS for 3 years and I am really enjoying it. I enjoy music, long walks, spending time with my friends and family, my two cats and of course cycling. I studied General and Executive Secretary at Cambrian College in Sudbury Ontario. As Public Relations Representative, I hope to bring some of my skills to the table and learn new ones. You can connect with us on Facebook at Trailblazers Tandem Cycling Club. You can also follow us on Twitter at trailblazerstcc.
Nayla, Member at Large
Nayla has been a member of the TRAILBLAZERS since 2013 and cycling became one of her preferred hobbies. For Nayla, life is an adventure and embracing changes is not a choice but a part of survival. She has lived in multiple worlds from a cultural and visual perspective. She has a Masters in Lebanese and French Law and has been the Director of the Job Accommodation Service® for over 15 years. She has been raised to seek and fight for fairness, and to speak up against injustice and corruption. Nayla is trilingual and loves reading, music, good company and fine cuisine.
Sarah, Member at Large
Ever since Sarah took her first tandem cycling ride with the TRAILBLAZERS in 2017, she was hooked. It is now one of her favorite hobbies for the spring and summer months, while another is taking long walks down the trails of Toronto. When biking season ends, you will find Sarah on the ski hills with the Toronto Ski Hawks! Sarah is incredibly social and is strongly involved in the blind and low vision community. She is an advocate for various communities and is an active communicator for mental health awareness. Sarah is honored and thrilled to be a part of the Trailblazers team, and comes ready to take on whatever challenges that come her way.