Hello Toronto (and beyond) I’m back in the saddle, sort of. Forgive the long silence. On my last day of holidays, I suffered a concussion and was ordered to rest. No writing. No interviews. Hardly any cycling.
This week, I did my first interview since my accident. It was scheduled for Wednesday May 18, which just happened to be the day set aside for the Ride of Silence.
The Ride of Silence, which occurs on the same day in cities all over the world, is a half hour cycle through the city streets, commemorating those who have died in collisions. Any cyclist can be involved in this event. Riders move slowly; you are asked not engage other vehicles or pedestrians. A simple sign on one bike identifies the cause. When people inquire, laugh or catcall (and I saw all of these reactions), you ride solemnly by. I decided to participate in this event, since names of people who have died in collisions have come up in interviews. I felt it important to honour these people. As it turns out, my interviewee was late for our meeting, so he agreed to join me on the Ride (his first, also). It was very moving for both of us.
Afterward, he and I went to Ronnie’s Local 069 in Kensington Market for a beer and to swap bike stories. My interviewee got into cycling when a friend sold him a bike and taught him some basic maintenance. He is so addicted to cycling now that he customizes bikes to suit the personality of friends, hoping to also get them into the sport. His dream is to open a shop doing just that.
Everything happens for a reason. The man whose name I honoured on the Ride of Silence is Charlie Princep, in whose memory Charlie’s Freewheels was created. Today, in Charlie’s memory, young people from Regent Park are given an old bike and are taught to rebuild and maintain it. For more details, visit Charlie’s Bike Shop on Queen Street East. Or, http://www.charliesfreewheels.ca/
And someday, watch for a handsome young fire fighter, who believes in building bikes to “suit personalities”.