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Big Orange 2003_Slideshow 1_Small.jpg

HISTORY

Background

The short story is that Big Orange was started almost twenty years ago by a small group of passionate racers that wanted to have more control over how they raced and trained. Over time the mission evolved to supporting riders, not just racers, become better cyclists. Big Orange now has about 200 members and the one thing we all have in common is that we love to ride our bikes. The club has teams dedicated to road, track, cyclocross, and mountain bike racing; runs various training and group rides; hosts educational programs directed at beginning and experienced cyclists and promotes the cycling community; and, even though Big Orange is recognized as one of the strongest clubs in Southern California, we still aim to stay true to our roots so our riders can just have fun riding bikes.

The Details

In 2003, six Cat 3 racers from an established South Bay cycling club formed Big Orange Racing largely over a denied request for a couple of water bottles. Though the racers were well supported, the team was highly managed. The demands put on them did not seem consistent with amateur bike racing. These racers wanted more control over how they raced and trained so they started a new team that would be owned and managed by members, not sponsors.

The founding six invited their former teammates to join them. There were no sponsors yet so there was no money. Everyone had to pay for everything themselves, but they were their own boss and they could determine for themselves when and how they raced. Thirty other racers liked this idea enough that virtually overnight Big Orange Racing became a formidable Southern California bike racing team.

Old Big O_1 (002).png
The race squad in 2004 with Greg Leibert wearing the yellow leaders jersey.

From the start, Big Orange Racing focused on racer support and inclusivity. Despite not having much money, the Team did what it could with the resources at hand. The fledgling club welcomed anyone that wanted to race. There were no race resume requirements, no coolness litmus test. Big Orange was a place where anyone interested in racing their bike could find a home regardless of pedigree.

 

Big Orange quickly established itself as an
ECLECTIC GROUP OF DEDICATED RACERS,
INSTANTLY RECOGNIZABLE in DISTINCTIVE KITS
designed by Joe Yule and Greg Leibert.

BIg Orange Kit 2003.png
BIg Orange Kit 2004.png
Big Orange Kit 2006.png

These kits did not look like anything else in Southern California. They were fun, bold, loud, and a little crazy, kind of like founding member, Greg Leibert. They were meant to stand out in a crowded field of cyclists so teammates could more readily identify each other. And they stood out!

When Greg Leibert won the individual Masters 35+ SCNCA SoCal Cup in 2006, Big Orange Racing made a huge mark in Southern California’s ultra-competitive Master’s Racing category and top racers from all over joined Big Orange Racing. The SoCal Cup is awarded to the racer that accumulates the most points in races throughout the year. Racers earn points by being one of the top finishers in a race, or finishing “ in the money.” Greg’s performance that year earned him the nickname ”G-Money.”

In 2007 Big Orange Racing became the Cynergy Cycles Racing Team. Two Big Orange members had opened Cynergy, a new bike shop in Santa Monica, and pitched the idea of taking what we had as a club/team and giving it a new name. As a perk, the new shop would fully support a select group of racers in the 35+ Category.

Cynergy Cycles 2007.JPG

The rest of the racers and club members would enjoy discounts at the shop on bikes, kits, helmets, shoes, and other cycling goods while receiving reimbursement for race fees and travel expenses and enjoying the use of Cynergy’s 15 passenger van.

 

The Cynergy Cycles "elite" masters team enjoyed tremendous success and its racers were feared and respected throughout the Southern California racing community. However, all was not good with the rest of the Cynergy racers. The combination of a hyper-focus on a select group of seven racers and the hour drive for most members to get to the bike shop/sponsor meant the rest of the team suffered. The club dwindled in size and spirit.

So, in 2009, a handful of Cynergy Cycles racers got together to bring Big Orange back. These founding members wanted to once again be a club that would welcome all, support as many racers as possible, and still be the nicest group of riders who could tear your legs off. The “Don’t Be A Dick” motto was thus born to reflect this welcoming attitude.

The team getting ready to help Mark Scott keep the leader jersey in the next race during the period when Big Orange was the Cynergy team.

Most importantly, they wanted to be member owned and managed again. They wanted to expandthe ranks of cyclists, mentor new riders, nurture “undiscovered” talent, and once again sport signature Greg Leibert designed kits. Thus Big Orange Cycling was born.

Big Orange Cycling quickly attracted sponsors who appreciated our positive, inclusive attitude; strong race performance; and reputation for sponsor engagement. Increased sponsorship has allowed us to support more riders through race reimbursements and racer support and we are now known not only for having some of the strongest riders in Southern California in our ranks, but also having one of the most effective racer development programs.

 

We have earned a reputation for being a club where new riders can learn from experienced racers/riders. New riders appreciate the Big Orange philosophy of welcoming and mentoring them, not shaming them for the unavoidable crime of being new to the sport. Our membership has grown rapidly as our reputation as a welcoming club expanded. In 2012, Big Orange had over 100 members and, by 2016, we had more than doubled again and had 100 USAC licensed racers. COVID-19 put a damper on membership and racing and we now have about 200 members, a third of them with active race licenses.

History Racing Team 2019_Small.jpg
The core of the 2019 Big Orange race squad taken in Malaga Cove Plaza on photo day.
_2014-BigO.png
2015-BigOrange.png
2016_BEACHBODY_bigO_kit01.png
2018_bigO_kit.png
Big Orange Kit 2019.png

Our members have included racers that were former pros or went on to become pro; racers with top international, national, and state rankings; riders new to the sport and those that have been riding for decades; people who love to climb hills or descend them, cover long distances or just ride around the block (over and over again), ride solo or ride with friends. The one thing we all have in common is that we love to ride bikes. Over the last ten years Big Orange has taken a more active role in promoting cycling in the community. This has taken several forms including cycling education and training programs, support of CyclingSavvy.org, engaging with the community to promote cycling awareness, and advocating for cycling safety. In 2020, we united local cycling clubs to adopt a COVID policy until Los Angeles county published guidelines for cyclists in early 2021. More recently, we partnered with the Friendly Donut Ride (FDR) to help newer cyclists learn the basics of group riding in a friendly environment. All of this speaks to the club's commitment to give back to the cycling community.

Despite our growth, Big Orange has worked hard to retain its “family” feel, never succumbing to becoming an elitist racing squad. Big Orange remains dedicated to our original mission: being a place where everyone feels welcomed, is treated with dignity, and can become a better rider and racer. Big Orange has matured into an established racing team with a strong presence at most Southern California races where we support our racers with team tents, bike trainers, food and beverages, team van, and the ability to equip riders and pay for racing expenses. Whether or not members are active racers, Big Orange takes care of its people, offering them discounts on cycling products, financial support and gear replacement in the event of crashes, teaching them to be better riders, and supporting their cycling ambitions, whatever they may be.

14725688_982535468540759_5855610169585012815_n.jpg
2016 FDR Halloween Ride

Events as told to Eric Arentsen by club founders Greg “G$” Leibert and Greg “G3” Seyranian.

Big Orange 2010.png
IMG_1501.JPG
History Collage 6.jpg
History Collage 9__Small.jpg
IMG_1498.JPG
Big Orange 2003 ALT.JPG
IMG_1499.JPG
IMG_1494.JPG
IMG_1503.JPG

HISTORY

Background

The short story is that Big Orange was started almost twenty years ago by a small group of passionate racers that wanted to have more control over how they raced and trained. Over time the mission evolved to supporting riders, not just racers, become better cyclists. Big Orange now has about 200 members and the one thing we all have in common is that we love to ride our bikes. The club has teams dedicated to road, track, cyclocross, and mountain bike racing; runs various training and group rides; hosts educational programs directed at beginning and experienced cyclists and promotes the cycling community; and, even though Big Orange is recognized as one of the strongest clubs in Southern California, we still aim to stay true to our roots so our riders can just have fun riding bikes.

The Details

In 2003, six Cat 3 racers from an established South Bay cycling club formed Big Orange Racing largely over a denied request for a couple of water bottles. Though the racers were well supported, the team was highly managed. The demands put on them did not seem consistent with amateur bike racing. These racers wanted more control over how they raced and trained so they started a new team that would be owned and managed by members, not sponsors.

The founding six invited their former teammates to join them. There were no sponsors yet so there was no money. Everyone had to pay for everything themselves, but they were their own boss and they could determine for themselves when and how they raced. Thirty other racers liked this idea enough that virtually overnight Big Orange Racing became a formidable Southern California bike racing team.

Old Big O_1 (002).png
The race squad in 2004 with Greg Leibert wearing the yellow leaders jersey.

From the start, Big Orange Racing focused on racer support and inclusivity. Despite not having much money, the Team did what it could with the resources at hand. The fledgling club welcomed anyone that wanted to race. There were no race resume requirements, no coolness litmus test. Big Orange was a place where anyone interested in racing their bike could find a home regardless of pedigree.

 

Big Orange quickly established itself as an
ECLECTIC GROUP OF DEDICATED RACERS,
INSTANTLY RECOGNIZABLE in DISTINCTIVE KITS
designed by Joe Yule and Greg Leibert.

BIg Orange Kit 2003.png
BIg Orange Kit 2004.png
Big Orange Kit 2006.png

These kits did not look like anything else in Southern California. They were fun, bold, loud, and a little crazy, kind of like founding member, Greg Leibert. They were meant to stand out in a crowded field of cyclists so teammates could more readily identify each other. And they stood out!

When Greg Leibert won the individual Masters 35+ SCNCA SoCal Cup in 2006, Big Orange Racing made a huge mark in Southern California’s ultra-competitive Master’s Racing category and top racers from all over joined Big Orange Racing. The SoCal Cup is awarded to the racer that accumulates the most points in races throughout the year. Racers earn points by being one of the top finishers in a race, or finishing “ in the money.” Greg’s performance that year earned him the nickname ”G-Money.”

In 2007 Big Orange Racing became the Cynergy Cycles Racing Team. Two Big Orange members had opened Cynergy, a new bike shop in Santa Monica, and pitched the idea of taking what we had as a club/team and giving it a new name. As a perk, the new shop would fully support a select group of racers in the 35+ Category.

Cynergy Cycles 2007.JPG

The rest of the racers and club members would enjoy discounts at the shop on bikes, kits, helmets, shoes, and other cycling goods while receiving reimbursement for race fees and travel expenses and enjoying the use of Cynergy’s 15 passenger van.

 

The Cynergy Cycles "elite" masters team enjoyed tremendous success and its racers were feared and respected throughout the Southern California racing community. However, all was not good with the rest of the Cynergy racers. The combination of a hyper-focus on a select group of seven racers and the hour drive for most members to get to the bike shop/sponsor meant the rest of the team suffered. The club dwindled in size and spirit.

So, in 2009, a handful of Cynergy Cycles racers got together to bring Big Orange back. These founding members wanted to once again be a club that would welcome all, support as many racers as possible, and still be the nicest group of riders who could tear your legs off. The “Don’t Be A Dick” motto was thus born to reflect this welcoming attitude.

The team getting ready to help Mark Scott keep the leader jersey in the next race during the period when Big Orange was the Cynergy team.

Most importantly, they wanted to be member owned and managed again. They wanted to expandthe ranks of cyclists, mentor new riders, nurture “undiscovered” talent, and once again sport signature Greg Leibert designed kits. Thus Big Orange Cycling was born.

Big Orange Cycling quickly attracted sponsors who appreciated our positive, inclusive attitude; strong race performance; and reputation for sponsor engagement. Increased sponsorship has allowed us to support more riders through race reimbursements and racer support and we are now known not only for having some of the strongest riders in Southern California in our ranks, but also having one of the most effective racer development programs.

 

We have earned a reputation for being a club where new riders can learn from experienced racers/riders. New riders appreciate the Big Orange philosophy of welcoming and mentoring them, not shaming them for the unavoidable crime of being new to the sport. Our membership has grown rapidly as our reputation as a welcoming club expanded. In 2012, Big Orange had over 100 members and, by 2016, we had more than doubled again and had 100 USAC licensed racers. COVID-19 put a damper on membership and racing and we now have about 200 members, a third of them with active race licenses.

History Racing Team 2019_Small.jpg
The core of the 2019 Big Orange race squad taken in Malaga Cove Plaza on photo day.

Our members have included racers that were former pros or went on to become pro; racers with top international, national, and state rankings; riders new to the sport and those that have been riding for decades; people who love to climb hills or descend them, cover long distances or just ride around the block (over and over again), ride solo or ride with friends. The one thing we all have in common is that we love to ride bikes. Over the last ten years Big Orange has taken a more active role in promoting cycling in the community. This has taken several forms including cycling education and training programs, support of CyclingSavvy.org, engaging with the community to promote cycling awareness, and advocating for cycling safety. In 2020, we united local cycling clubs to adopt a COVID policy until Los Angeles county published guidelines for cyclists in early 2021. More recently, we partnered with the Friendly Donut Ride (FDR) to help newer cyclists learn the basics of group riding in a friendly environment. All of this speaks to the club's commitment to give back to the cycling community.

_2014-BigO.png
2015-BigOrange.png
2016_BEACHBODY_bigO_kit01.png
2017_BigO-kit.png
2018_bigO_kit.png
Big Orange Kit 2019.png
2020_BigO-kit.png
14725688_982535468540759_5855610169585012815_n.jpg
2016 FDR Halloween Ride

Despite our growth, Big Orange has worked hard to retain its “family” feel, never succumbing to becoming an elitist racing squad. Big Orange remains dedicated to our original mission: being a place where everyone feels welcomed, is treated with dignity, and can become a better rider and racer. Big Orange has matured into an established racing team with a strong presence at most Southern California races where we support our racers with team tents, bike trainers, food and beverages, team van, and the ability to equip riders and pay for racing expenses. Whether or not members are active racers, Big Orange takes care of its people, offering them discounts on cycling products, financial support and gear replacement in the event of crashes, teaching them to be better riders, and supporting their cycling ambitions, whatever they may be.

Events as told to Eric Arentsen by club founders Greg “G$” Leibert and Greg “G3” Seyranian.

Big Orange 2010.png
IMG_1501.JPG
History Collage 6.jpg
History Collage 9__Small.jpg
IMG_1498.JPG
Big Orange 2003 ALT.JPG
IMG_1499.JPG
IMG_1494.JPG
IMG_1503.JPG
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