$40K of cycling gear given to Cubans

By Gerald V. Paul

Eon D’Ornellas in his Lawrence Ave. bike shop.
Eon D’Ornellas in his Lawrence Ave. bike shop.

A Guyana-born businessman and a cycling fan have teamed up to send boxes of cycling gear valued at $40,000 to Cuba with the Pan Am team currently competing in Toronto.

Eon D’Ornellas – two-time Canadian Road Champion, four-time Olympian and Pan Am Games medalist who runs D’Ornellas Bike Shop under the motto True Passion For Cycling at 1894 Lawrence Ave. E. – said, “I started as a guy 14 years of age.

“I started riding a fixed-wheel bike on the road and that’s all I could afford at that time, so I know what it means when you have that kind of equipment when you want to compete.

“My passion for cycling and over 40 years hands-on experience riding bikes makes me an excellent resource for fitting and servicing bicycles and athletes. In addition to this I have also serviced both Ironman and Half Ironman races worldwide.”

D’Ornellas, a Pan Am Games ambassador, said the gear headed to Cuba includes tires, pedals, saddles and pretty much anything former D’Ornellas Bike Shop president Lawrence Levin could get his hand on.

“They don’t have any money to buy anything, so every single piece of equipment that’s donated is used and is incredibly appreciated,” Levin said.

Levin said he was inspired to help after seeing the condition of the bikes promising young Cuban riders practice on, including tires that are beyond bald. “You can almost see the tubes through the tires.”

He is also helping Cuban athletes at the Games by providing static rollers so they can warm up before races. He noted the carbon fibre bikes that  track cyclists are racing on at Milton’s new velodrome during the Games easily run between $8,000 and $10,000, with helmets, speedsuits and other gear costing hundreds more.

Gerald V. Paul
Gerald V. Paul