Breakaway Cycling Team
We recently had the chance to sit down with Breakaway Cycling Team. Check out what this organization has been up to!
OCA: What is Breakaway Cycling Team (BCT)?
BCT: We are a 501 c(3) non-profit organization that is setting out to build leaders while supporting inclusivity. The bicycle happens to be our vehicle for change.
We advocate and provide support for junior/U23/women riders in cycling across various disciplines. We believe women and young riders are the future of the sport and want to empower them with the skills, knowledge and education needed to become leaders in the cycling community and in life.
We support race teams so they can support BCT’s mission. Race team members help us lead outreach community clinics to get more women/kids on bikes, represent the organization on rides, help develop junior riders, inspire others and pass on the love to anyone they can. We want to break down barriers, provide opportunity, inspire, empower, educate and build community.
OCA: How did BCT get started?
BCT: Several years ago, our director (Tiffany Dixon) was helping some local junior riders however she could. Victor Gurel, owner of Custom Electronics, recognized this and asked if a sponsorship to create an official junior team could help grow and support junior cycling. Of course, the answer was a huge YES! Through that sponsorship and help from others, Breakaway Cycling Team was formed and became an official non-profit organization. BCT started out small as a road cycling team supporting juniors. Over the years community needs have increased, BCT has grown to include women and U23 riders across road, cyclocross and mountain bike, while also developing numerous outreach programs within the community.
OCA: Can you share with us one of the junior athletes’ stories and how BCT is impacting their life?
BCT: This is from Marie Brown. A junior female rider. She has been with us since the beginning and this year will move to our women’s regional team.
“When I became interested in road cycling, I had no support systems and I had no friends or family who knew anything about cycling. But I was very determined to become a part of the cycling community that I had only seen from the outside. In 2017 I showed up to the Highway 71 Classic and had no idea what I was doing. I was alone and ended up getting myself stranded. Like a bird, Breakaway swooped me up, told me it was okay. Immediately I felt overwhelmed by support that I had never received before — and by strangers nonetheless! I never had a doubt in my mind from that moment on that I wanted to be a part of Breakaway. I felt like that day I was gifted by Tiffany, the mission of Breakaway and I wanted to support it in return by helping others as I had been helped. Without Breakaway I don’t think I would have been able to become more involved in cycling and perhaps my bike would be dusty in a garage somewhere.
Today Breakaway inspires me to encourage and help others better themselves, both on and off the bike. I see what Tiffany does for us, how much work she puts in and I want to make sure that it reaches as far as possible. Breakaway is the biggest support system in my life, and I feel proud to say that I am who I am because Tiffany took me under her wing that day. Because of this team I feel like I’ve found my place, a feeling of belonging that is new to me. Breakaway isn’t a team focused on racing and results, but a family looking to uplift each other and their community.” – Marie Brown
OCA: What are the challenges for BCT?
BCT: Like most non-profits, our biggest obstacle is funding. We are a non-profit, not just a race team. BCT provides various support such as scholarships for those that need help, numerous outreach programs free to the public, equipment loaners to get more kids on bikes, etc. We are always looking for partners who believe in our work to help support the organization so we can continue. Living in an area that is thriving with cycling, we have found many who think we are funded by big sponsors and/or grants, but the truth is we need monetary support. We currently do not receive any grants or have any major sponsors (we lost our primary sponsor this year). With limited resources we are limited on how many we can help.
OCA: How does someone join?
BCT: As mentioned, BCT has several layers. We try to help as many as we can with the resources we have. Our race teams are smaller, and those riders have reached out to us because they have seen what we are doing and want to help with the mission. We are getting more and more calls asking about joining from individuals wanting help on the bike, so we are actually in the process of accessing the community now and the needs to create/implement more programs to fill these needs. We will have outreach clinics that anyone can attend. We encourage people to reach out and we will find the best fit for the situation. If we can’t help, we try to find someone else that can. We are also in constant need of volunteers to help with our organized events. We rely a lot on our riders and their parents. We have needs ranging from event organizing and planning to set-up and tear down.
OCA: How can someone find out more about BCT?
BCT: We have a website breakawaycyclingteam.org that has the overview of what we do and contact information. To stay up to date on what we are doing we encourage people to follow our social media pages (Facebook and Instagram) for both Breakaway Cycling Team and Breakaway Cycling Women’s Team. The links for those can be found on our website as well. We love talking to people about what we are doing and getting people involved.
OCA: Thanks for the interview BCT. We love what your are doing! Get involved folks. They need your support!