A cycling family

13 07 2012

My love of cycling comes naturally. Chain lube courses through my veins.

My dad met my mom while on a cycling tour of Germany. His older brother Peter was a competitive cyclist for years, owned a renowned bike shop for a stretch and he’s still riding, coaching and organizing races at 76.

Sunday, my uncle Pete and I rode together at the Axel Merckx Gran Fondo in Penticton.

Pete’s character and heart are equally large. He’s full of stories, from sharing youthful adventures with my dad growing up in war-torn Berlin, to his own exploits in the cycling realm. And he seems to know everybody.

As he spun tails in the shade of the convention centre where we registered for the ride, he’d be interrupted every few moments by someone who recognized him, or to wave a greeting and share a quip with a familiar face. When a member of his cycling club showed up without proper riding shorts, we booked it to the trunk of his car to root around for a spare pair.

He and his wife, my aunt Sandy, were pillars of strength and support for my mom as she coped with the loss of my father to pancreatic cancer eight years ago, checking in by phone regularly, visiting when their travels took them to that part of the country.

And when Princess of Pavement and I were married, he gave a speech that had everyone in stitches.

Can you see the family resemblance?

As we found our place amidst the 2500 other cyclists awaiting the start of the fondo, we talked about my dad’s own cycling adventures, and how much we both missed him.

We didn’t actually ride together very long; he was doing the 50 km Cortofondo, while I was doing the slightly more ambitious 92 km Mediofondo.

Reliving the triumphs of a hot day on the bike.

But when I rolled into the finish area four hot and sweaty hours later, his beaming smile was there to congratulate me. And then he was off to say hello to another buddy.