A different kind of ride …

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I frequently write about my rides. Epic rides I share with my son. Commutes to and from the office. Training rides around Stanley Park, UBC, the river delta and, gruelling climbs up the local mountains. Today, I want to write about a different kind of ride.

A week ago, I met a young woman living in my neighbourhood. A professional woman who, for years, worked in academia at one of the local universities. Disenchanted, she took a 6 month sabbatical which she subsequently extended to a year. What did she choose to do with this time? Cycle solo around the world. What else?

I was intrigued. This woman was not only an inspiration but intelligent, articulate, outgoing  and, confident. I liked her immediately. When we were parting, she handed me her business card. Several days later, I viewed her LinkedIn Profile and, extended an invitation to connect. The same day, she connected. She remembered our chance encounter.

Two days later, I received an email from her asking if I would like to accompany her on a ride. She had a business meeting, an hour away and, was looking for a cycling buddy. You see, she not only commutes by bike but cycles around the city for business meetings throughout the day.

No one has ever asked me to do this before. Without much hesitation, I rearranged my schedule.

We agreed to meet at 8:30 in the morning, she, on her beautifully appointed city bike, dressed in a flattering navy blue dress and grey tights and me, on my road bike dressed in my road cycling kit. I felt underdressed. No matter, we ambled along at a conversational pace for an hour, talking mostly about her cycling adventures.

While she met with her client, I crossed the street to meet with an associate and, an hour later, we met up again for the return ride back downtown to our respective offices. When we parted, we thanked one another for the ride, both saying we hoped to meet up again.

I have not cycled like this for a very long time. I wasn’t training. I didn’t look at my computer once and, had no idea how fast (or slow) were were travelling. It didn’t matter. We arrived on time (I think) and, there was no need to rush on the way back.

But I wasn’t done. At lunch, I cycled downtown to pick up MLS soccer tickets, later in the afternoon, cycled to a nearby cafe to meet a web designer being considered for a project and, after work, took a longer, circuitous route home adding another 30 km to the 45 km I had already cycled.

A day on the bike. What could be better?

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14 thoughts on “A different kind of ride …

  1. I am able to cycle almost everyday for my job. I have to run errands and I get to go on the bike. It is just as fast for me to ride than it is to drive, find a parking spot and then walk to the front door. On the bike I pull right up to the front door and never have to fight for a parking spot. I am very lucky and I love getting out in the middle of a work day and get on the bike. I am also known as the bike lady to all the legal community in my small town.

    • You are right. It is some much easier than having to contend with traffic and finding parking. When I am on my good bikes – bikes I don’t dare leave locked up outside – I wheel them right into stores and, even offices if necessary.

      Good for you for being known at that “bike lady”.

  2. Now that sounds like a lot of fun. That’s the one part of cycling I cannot have and am a little envious of. It’s a a 100 mile round-trip to and from my office. This long commute was by design, long before I got into cycling. I live well out in the country, and pay very little in property tax out here, yet our kids still have fantastic schools. My office is on the northern edge of everything – the richest county in Michigan. Good for construction, but ridiculously congested.

    Out here in the country, we have paved back roads that go on forever. We can ride for 50-60 miles and see only half a dozen cars on a Sunday morning. We have fantastically long lunch runs and good times, but I just don’t have that commute. Great post.

    • It was fun and, a new experience for me.

      I am a little envious of you. I love cycling in quiet, rural areas away from the traffic, noise and polluted air. They don’t exist in these parts without travelling a little way.

  3. I cycle to work everyday so I have to walk or ride my bike to any appointments I have during the day. It’s kind of unpleasant when it rains, but as long as it’s dry, I’m quite happy to leave enough time to pedal to just about anywhere in the city. My RMT’s office even has a 5% discount for anyone who cycles to their appointment AND I park at the front door. I love it!

    • That’s terrific.

      There was time when I had to dress in a suit and that made it more difficult commuting and, in particular, biking to appointments. These days my dress code is more casual and I can wear more suitable clothing.

      I have a “commuter bike” that I am ok with locking up. My roads bikes are a different story. I like to commute/train on them in the better weather and then i am left having to walk to appointments because i am not comfortable locking them up. Although, sometimes, like yesterday, I took the bike into the cafe and the Whitecaps office.

      Thanks for the comment. You are an inspiration and I hope more women take notice.

  4. So glad you got a chance to connect with her, she has such an inspiring story! Every time I hear of a woman going on a solo tour it gets those wheels turning in the back of my mind…

    • That’s why I share these stories – to inspire us all. We all are capable of more than we think. You are young enough and, resilient enough to cycle wherever and, whenever you like. Keep the pedals turning. 🙂

  5. I wrote a post a week ago about the fact I have spent the last 4 months in lycra, chasing fitness for an event.

    Now I am delighted to be back in the world where I don’t care about form, I just ride and I wear whatever I need to wear for the day. Sometimes lycra, sometimes not.

    Your trip is a very pleasant welcome back to that world for me. Thanks for sharing.

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