Can you tell me a bit about your background as a cyclist?
I cycled a lot when I was young, in my early teens and as a kid, and then I stopped as most teenagers do when they get their driver’s licence and then I got a couple of speeding tickets and that was the end of that- insurance went up so I got rid of the car. Then about the same time we moved to Florida from Canada. In Florida being about 20 degrees in the winter, I decided to take up cycling again.
So you are originally from Canada?
I am originally from Canada, then I moved to the US and then I moved to here. Three countries I’ve lived in now. When I was in Miami, I had a routine around the lake that I would cycle, which was about 10 miles and I was riding along as happy as could be. And then when I came to this country I realized 10 miles is nothing, especially because Miami is as flat as a table and once you start putting some hills in- that’s when it gets challenging
So I understand that you work with Richard for the CTC…
I do, yeah, I’m one of his ride leaders. We have various different types of rides, we cater to a different number of people and different styles of riding.
For example, the ride I just did up at the Garrison is more geared towards mums; then we have the ride on Wednesday which is a program for people who have been referred to it by their doctors so that they can get out and improve their health and a family ride first and third Saturday of the month, which of course is a ride where you can have young kids show up.
And we just started up this month the Tuesday evening rides and it’s my favourite one because it’s longer and it’s faster, so it’s pushing anywhere between 15-20 miles and we go at a much faster pace. You can kind of stretch your legs a little bit and actually get people to work out a bit of a sweat. But you have to work up to that one, you can’t just jump out and start on that one.
What made you become a ride leader?
Just the fact that I enjoy it. I started out with Richard probably about two years ago now, maybe a little bit more than that and my fitness was shockingly poor- we did the Wivenhoe Trail, which is an 8 miles round trip and when we got to the end I collapsed…And as I progressed through his rides to the more challenging ones, I just enjoyed it more and more and he saw me coming along to all these rides and asked me if I wanted to become an assistant and from that up to ride leader. So I figured: Yeah, why not? It’s something I enjoy doing so I was gonna be on those rides anyway, so I might as well step up and lead a couple of them.
What plans do you have for the future, in terms of cycling?
Well, this summer I have a short trip planned. I’m going back to Canada and I’m going to cycle from my mother’s house to my father’s house, maybe about 350 miles. It’s gonna be on something called the Trans Canada Trail where they’ve linked up all the old railway lines going from coast to coast and I’m gonna follow those so most of it will be off-road as well. Next year I want to do the End to End, which is from the Southern tip to the Northern tip of the UK, so I’m really pushing myself for that one. And in 2015 I’m trying to convince Ashley, one of the other ride leaders, to come on one of the coast to coast to coast ride in Canada, so we would go from the Arctic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. The effort for that would be immense, to put it mildly, but I want to do it for charity, for Healthy Heroes and Macmillan, so…
That is a nice thought!
Well both my grandparents from my mother’s side died from cancer so… I also hope to get a couple of the Canadian soldiers to ride with me, so that I’m not alone for the whole ride!
It does seem like lot of exercise…
Yeah, it’s got me a little bit worried, that’s why I want to do the End to End: I figured if I can do that in ten days (around 1000 miles), then I will be confident doing the Canadian one. Because you get fit as you are riding anyway- you show up fit, of course, but as you ride you get fitter and fitter. It’s the mountains that worry me, because you’ve got them on both ends, so if I do the coast coming in from the Atlantic I’d have to cross the Rocky Mountains and then cross them again going the other way.
That’s pretty much all I wanted to ask you, is there anything you wanted to add?
I mean, Richard’s group has helped me get into all this, because as you move into a new city you don’t know anyone and once you get into any type of group it just expands; I’ve gotten into a couple of other groups, such as the Rovers. Once you’re in, you meet people from all the different groups and it’s just fantastic! A really fun thing to do…and I’ve lost three stones last summer, just by cycling and keeping away from fast-food