Forgive the long post. It didn’t occur to me to start this blog until my friend Peter suggested it last week. I have some catching up to do. My intent is to post a weekly report on who I interviewed the previous week. This post is going to be a little longer than usual.

To begin experimenting with interviews and the style I wanted to use for the story interpretations, I asked two people in my office to indulge me. Both of these people are interface designers and avid cyclists. The woman owns a stainless steel Cramerotti (one of only three ever made). She rides year long. Well, why wouldn’t she? The frame won’t rust out. The fellow has three bikes. His wife loves to tease him that he has three bikes too many, to which he retorts good-naturedly that he actually has one bike too few. He is going to have to part with one of these bikes this spring and is absolutely torn at the prospect of losing any of them.

Next, I interviewed a woman who works with LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests). She is restoring one of CCM’s original bikes, back when the company used the label “Standard Cycling Products of Canada”. During the interview, she called this her date bike, at which I thought her terribly sentimental. Then I met the bike. It’s true. A more romantic bike I have never seen.

In February, I attended Icycle, also known as the Ice Races. Bike couriers compete on road bikes on a frozen rink. Competitors strategically place up to 400 screws into their tires, designing what they feel will be a winning pattern that grips the ice perfectly. The result is breath-takingly poetic. I wrote a story based on this experience, which I hope to include in the book. The story is called How Now, Wrench?

Wrench

Over breakfast one morning, I was telling a young man about the book. Magically, a cycling story fell from his lips, so I went to get my notebook. The man was from Markham. I suddenly realized we needed to expand the perimeter to include the GTA. He shared a commuter story, about how cycling affects his moods and his outlook on life. He also shared a touring story that sounded larger than life. It made me want to buy a road bike.

Later, I was invited to breakfast at a place in the Beaches. One of the men had come recommended by someone at an event I’d attended, so they were both strangers to me. The fellow who came recommended has modified a folding bike into a E-bike. He’s quite pleased with the results. The friend who accompanied him wanted to share his thoughts on cycling safety, having lost a team mate in a collision with a truck. It was very moving.

Finally, I contacted the man who was responsible for building my confidence as a cyclist in Toronto. He owns five bikes. I told him to pick his favourite, which I’ve since realized is an impossible request. We ended up talking about the difference between the bike types, and why you might choose to take a recumbent, a road bike or a trail bike, and when tandems and Bike Fridays have their advantages.

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