The re-birth of a road cyclist

DadsDenThis post is (re)cycled.  It was initially published on May 29, 2013 and has been updated to include the retrofit of my mountain bike as a daily commuter.  

This image has made me think. And remember. It represents a 35 year history of cycling. On the road. On the trails. Touring. Commuting. And, training.

Three of these bikes are mine. The others belong to family members. Riding enthusiasts. Proteges you might say.

Hanging on the wall is a hand-built, custom Roberts touring bike (“one of the finest bespoke bicycle producers in Britain”) equipped with vintage Campagnola, Cinelli and TA components. It was my first serious project. I researched and assembled all of the parts, tuned it carefully and even built the wheels. It remains a great, comfortable ride. The wooden bench was built for the project and the green tool box still houses all of the tools necessary for the project. This bike was the start of some serious cycling and, over the years, has been morphed from a touring bike, to a commuter and, a racer. The bike taught me a lot and I still enjoy riding it.

20130816 (My other ride) 032Also hanging, is a mountain bike, a birthday present when my children were young. It has seen most of the city’s laneways and many of the local off-road trails. It too has seen a metamorphosis. It still has all of the original components but is equipped with “city slicker” tires as it is used mostly as a city bike these days. For years, this was my primary ride and, today, I still enjoy riding it to the store or gym for a workout.  In August 2013, I rebuilt this bike as a city commuter using both new and used parts.  It rides like a new bike.  Tight.  Quiet.  Responsive.  And, it has made my daily commutes a pleasure.

My ride these days is on the bike repair stand. A 2011 Louis Garneau Gennix R2 equipped with a Shimano Dura-Ace Group. This is a treat. A racing machine. My trainer. I enjoy riding this bike more than I ever expected. In fact, more than anything, it is responsible for the re-birth of this older cyclist.

As I grow older, the more I appreciate cycling. I began as a young man out of college. I had taken a job with a large, international company and they insisted I pass a medical exam. I passed but the doctor freightened me and insisted I lose weight. Years with my head in the books and too little exercise resulted in 25-30 excess pounds. I borrowed a neighbor’s 5-speed and began cycling in the evenings after work. As I shed the pounds, I realized I truely enjoyed cycling. So began a life long passion. A passion not only for riding but for building and maintaining my bikes as well.

It appears I have passed this fervor to my son as well. At 30, he is already a better rider and mechanic than I was at his age. And, he owns more (and better) bicycles than I do.

It really doesn’t get any better than that.

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