In his roles as coach, racing official mentor, Roger Summer was instrumental in helping BC cyclist succeed on the national and international stage for more than thirty years.

Sumner was born in England and came to Canada in the early 1960s. He made an immediate impact on Canada’s national team as a rider, winning races in Europe and North America. In 1974 he raced for Canada at the world championships in Montreal.

As one of the few elite level riders in BC during the 1970s, Sumner quickly became a valuable resource for developing cyclists. By the 1980s, local racers began dominating the Canadian cycling scene. As a coach, manager, riders’ rep or mentor Sumner helped Brian Walton, Sara Neil, Leah Goldstein, Marni Pratzsky and many others achieve national and international success.

In 1975 Sumner organized the first Gastown Grand Prix which quickly became Canada’s premier cycling event. Until it was discontinued in 1993, up to 40,000 fans would crowd the sidewalks of Gastown each year to watch cyclist navigate the cobblestone streets.

Sumner juggled his dentist practice to organize racing events and long distance training rides. He volunteers hundreds of hours preparing budgets, fundraising, arranging transportation for competitions, and lobbying for government support. He served as chief manager and coach of the BC teams at national competitions as well spending countless hours on committees to help support the local bike racing community.

Right up to his death in December 2000, Sumner remained a passionate racer, dominating the Master category events and winning the BC hill climbing championship. At the age of 64 he competed at the national road racing championships.

“Just before his death, I remember taking part in the weekly ride around Richmond,” recalled Cycling BC technical director Alan Pratzsky. “Sometimes there would be about 70 riders, some of them local hot-shots and it would get really, really fast.”

“On this particular ride I was struggling and I wanted to see who was pulling the train. I pulled out to take a look and it was Roger leading the group. Even at his age he was still going fast.”

The Canadian Cycling Association has recognized Roger’s contribution to the sport. The Roger Summer Award is now given to the country’s best new cyclist. It is a fitting tribute, acknowledging Sumner’s gift of finding and encouraging new riders.