Sometimes he’s here, on Cycle Write blog. But so far, if he appears, – he’s silent and gentle. That’s Jack — my partner in life , in cycling and at times, even in blogging.
Jack has not yet spoken on Cycle Write blog since he’s far too busy over the years, creating and/or feeding his own 4 different blogs – Third Wave Cycling Blog, Velourbanism Blog, Vélo-city 2010 Cycling Conference Blog and BCCC CycloTouring Blog. This is in addition to taking lengthy solo cycling trips, his cycling advocacy work and providing business planning and support for his son’s butcher and sandwich shop. I wouldn’t want to pressure him, right honey? 🙂
I have launched and written some blog posts for 2 of his blogs for his cycling consulting and advocacy work. Hey, it’s fair swap for his time spent on changing my flat tires and minor bike repairs. I can’t forget also for all his legwork on bike trip planning and patiently leading a geospatially challenged nerd like me.
First Meeting: No Clue to Transformations
Little did I know over 23 years ago when we met, my world would take a major spinning change. I never dreamt of exploring the world beyond my home city, by bicycle. I had no inkling I would become a long-time cycling enthusiast. I was just a willing cycling newbie. Several months ago before I met him, I was hankering to buy a bike and get back into cycling after a 12 year hiatus. Jack and I share many things in common. Cycling as a shared passion, does foster some idiosyncracies that other non-cycling folks may find puzzling, even incomprehensible.
Life as a Cycling Couple
We love cycling together. Yes, for the longest time, he was often the lead. But never too far away. On multi-day trips or longer, he would scope out the bike routes. I would pick accommodations and local attractions.
To me, he’s the black beetle on these long trips, because that’s what he looks like –1 km. ahead of me. Fine by me. As long as I can see him. If he reaches a critical road junction or curve, he waits patiently for me.
Sharing Journeys Together in Myriad Ways
It may be bewildering to others, that Jack and I don’t always cycle together. Sometimes we can’t. I’m working in a full-time job while he’s taking full advantage of early retirement and cycling away. Sometimes that means him cycling happily away and solo across Canada or the U.S. or in Europe. Clearly this is not something all couples are comfortable: their spouse gone for weeks on a bike trip or even just a few hours away from home. In cycling circles, I have heard of underlying tension for some cyclists trying to deal with their spouses who worry a lot about them –whether it’s the cyclist hanging out in group rides or just cycling in traffic. Here is a cyclist negotiating time on bike away from a non-cycling spouse:
So my sweetheart says she just can’t handle the ‘Danger and Worry’ of me commuting on a bicycle – and asks that I wait 90 days. – and I am willing to do so for Marital Harmony – but what can I do to assuage her worries – I intend to commute at 5 AM and return home at 2:30 PM each of which are not peak traffic times around here….. I have explained the route, quoted statistics shown her that I am lit up like a Christmas tree – and no go…… Sounds Like I will not be commuting this winter….. oh well but I wanted to prove I could do it – what thoughts/arguments do you think I could use?
Knowing Cycling Demands: Long Trips
While I may worry abit when Jack’s cycling solo for weeks, we enjoy chatting up every evening to share the day’s events. It does help him that I am a cyclist and know some of the physical and mental challenges for any cyclist, particularily in long distances across rural Canada and U.S. or just navigating crappy road traffic at times.
Here are some coupledom highlights of a cycling partner on solo bike trips and at home partner:
- Skyping me from a mountain area campground washroom in Revelstoke, British Columbia. I could see people using the washing machine on the premises too.
- After a long, shocking day at work in Toronto, on the day when 911 planes hit the World Trade towers in New York City, I went home. That evening, Jack phoned me after a 100 km. bike ride, from the town of Marathon in northern Ontario. He had gone into a pub in White River. All the local patrons were glued to the tv. They were watching news replays of the horrifying plane attacks. Jack also learned all planes, even seaplanes, little charters were forbidden to fly that day. Like all planes worldwide.
As for what we’ve experienced as a cycling couple on our trips: that deserves a separate blog post. Stay tuned!
Cycling Causes Atypical Shopping Quirks Happy Hunting in Bike Shops
We enjoy wandering into bike shops together or on our own. We drop by bike shops when visiting another cities during a trip. He and I each have 4 bikes. So yea, that’s 8 bikes in total. Throw in a bike trailer for him too. To match all that, we have several U-locks and piles of bungy cords.
A cycling partner understands the need without complaining: a pile of bike lights (in various ages), 6 helmets, several cycling jackets, multiple pairs of bike gloves, bike shoes and tights for both spring and winter. Birthday and Christmas gift-giving often guarantees at least, 1 bike-related gift for one another.
Bungie Cords: Our Love Knots for Bike Transport
Since we don’t have a car, we cycle commute for shopping and errands. For awhile, I tolerated his penchant to pile several flats of fresh blueberries on top of his rear bike rack, in addition to laden panniers. Then I started to tie down toilet tissue packs outside the store, on my rear rack. Without doubt, transport goods by bike, means we really can’t buy heavy or much junk . A cycling lifestyle without a car, encourages a less consumerist lifestyle. Instead we spend our money on necessities and travel.
Parallel Paths for Cycling Advocacy
In Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, he and I each carve our own little tracks to raise cycling awareness. Here, within first 3 min. of this Chinese video clip, Jack is interviewed by local tv during a conference trip in Taiwan on cycling infrastructure.
While Jack seems to slog patiently through endless committee meetings and reports for over the past 20 years (!), I prefer to limit my energy. I love sharing the joy of cycling in volunteer work that allows me to meet other cyclists at information tables , key fun cycling events, participating in some rides or just blog about cycling.
But thanks to whirling stars in heaven, there’s more to our love, than cycling on the road and at home for us. Cycling is just a wonderful icing on the cake for us.
A short profile focusing on one of Jack’s current passions: promoting cycling tourism in British Columbia. He started up the blog which now has grown into a collaborative effort. Yes, I am cycling tourist in some of his blog posts.