The Original Cycle Tour

One of my favorite stories that my partner, Brent, tells is about how it came to be that he started cycle touring.  This is me paraphrasing – he tells it much better – but the story goes something like this:

When Brent was 46, his lifelong friend, Doug, suggested that they ride bicycles from Vancouver to Calgary.  Brent hadn’t ridden a bike in I don’t know how many years, but the only one he owned was an old steel one from the 60s that his sister had given him (it was hanging on a hook in the basement).  He was more than a little alarmed at the prospect of riding a bicycle across the Rockies, but didn’t want to admit it. 

So, he decided his best course of action was to get on a bicycle after, again, I don’t know how many years.  He says he rode that old steel bicycle over to the grocery store in Terra Losa (Edmonton), 2.2km from his condo and back and it nearly killed him.  He could have given up at that point, but he became quite determined to not back out of the trip because he “couldn’t” do it.  He wanted to tell Doug instead that, although he “could” do it, he “chose not to”.  For him to get to the point where he could honestly say that he "could do it", he would have to do some training.  So he started training.

He rode all over Edmonton and area, setting longer and longer routes for himself, and he rode in the Edmonton Bicycle & Touring Club “Tour de L’Alberta”. 

Late in the summer, Doug called him.  The conversation went something like this:
Doug: Sorry, man, but I’m not going to be able to do our ride from Vancouver to Calgary.
Brent: Oh no!  I’ve been really looking forward to it and I’ve been training and everything!
Doug: Really?  Well great, then, why don’t we go next year instead and ride all the way across Canada?
Brent: <gulp>

So, when Brent was 47, he and Doug rode all the way across Canada and they had a (mostly) wonderful time.  Doug (a very talented and creative fellow) made a fantastic 30-minute movie about it called “Letters to Mark”.  If you’d like to watch a copy of it, let me know.

Brent on the Original Cycle Tour


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