Sunday, October 10, 2010

The real Bike Bums

Bike Bum noun. Definition: devoted bicyclist or enthusiast, somebody who spends most of the time bicycling. Uses the bicycle as a primary means of transportation by choice. (Source: http://howtofixbikes.ca)

In my previous post I was blabbing about my one week wannabe bike bum experience. The most important part of that experience was the great people I had the chance to hang out with. Some reader feedback suggested elaborating more on those subjects, what a fantastic idea. I decided not to limit this post about some awesome bike friends that I know to that week in May, but I also figured it would be cool to present a few other great folks I met and rode with thanks to this blog here in Montreal in the past 4 years.


He's the tall dude on the right (I'm the shorty on the left). I met Riley at my first Critical Mass in April 2007. Actually his bike trailer hitch caught my attention. I was looking at it and found it looked really familiar. I asked him where he got the idea for it and his response was: "Are you Gerry from the website?" . We've been good friends from that moment on. Riley was the one who introduced me to Community Bike shops and he is the link to all the other people I know in Montreal bike circles. Riley rides 12 months a year, doesn't have a car and believes in sustainable living. He once spent an entire summer riding on the US West Coast. I'm sure that adventure could fill a book. Riley is also a very good carpenter, he built a few shelves and the bike stands at the old Mile End community bike shop location.


Jeff is from Portland Oregon and one day he got tired of the scene there and got on a train to Montreal(That's what he told me anyways). He stayed here for a little over a year and I had the chance to work with him at the Mile End bike shop. Jeff would jump on his bike and go for a ride to Ottawa to meet up some friends, taking the scenic route back and forth! He worked has a courrier and rode in this city 12 months a year. Jeff is one of the calmest and coolest guys I have ever met. I miss you Man.


The Queen Bee of the Mile End bike shop of old. She came from BC and was one of the fastest women on a bike in Montreal. Hanna is a fearless rider and a dedicated organizer. How can I say anything bad about somebody who rides a vintage Raleigh Sports? I remember that she would have her wheels in the truing stand at least once a week. A perfectionist at heart.


Pat is a local that I met at Critical Mass. A true year round commuter, he rides a no nonsense flat black earth cruiser. That beast runs 12 months a year and it is equipped to survive the elements. Pat is not afraid to show off is true colors by various stickers on his bike like "One less car". Although you would never guess it if you met this mild mannered individual off the saddle.


Max is one of the most hardcore riders that I ever had the pleasure to ride with. From New Brunswick, Max can and does ride anything hard. I do mean anything, he owns an old folding bike and he rides it the same he does all of his other mounts. Skidding, bunny hops and popping wheelies is part of any ride whatever the bike. Last May while bombing down St-Urbain at midnight, I saw Max pull a wheelie from his fixie at 30 mph. He held it for at a least a quarter mile and in that distance he went off the road to zoom through the underground entrance of a hospital! That little clip is etched in my brain until the day I die.


Me-"Vlad where are you from?" Vlad-"I'm from Lithuania, it's a small island in the Pacific." Me-"You're shitting me right?" Vlad-"Most people usually believe it since they have no clue where Lithuania is." I knew where Lithuania was but I was still nowhere near decoding this mysterious 20 something with stunning good looks (Sorry ladies, I don't have a  picture). Vlad has been all over the world from his homeland to riding in Los Angeles. He's even spent some time at Burning Man. If you ever meet Vlad, you'll want to be Vlad. Although mysterious, he is still a very down to earth guy and an intense rider. I truly enjoyed his company back in May.


I don't know much about Kelly since I only met her last May and recognized her from this shot that I took at an annual Montreal Winter race. You'll notice that she has a big grin in that picture. Just imagine how miserable those conditions were, wet, muddy and cold. Despite that she smiles and that's the way Kelly is all the time. Last May she was actually riding her bike with a sprained ankle and she was still smiling. 


I saved the best for last. Ritchie is a local Master Bike mechanic in his 60's but despite a heart attack, reduced lung capacity from years of chain smoking, you wouldn't give him a day over 55. Ritchie doesn't own a phone, so if you get a voice mail message from him, he'll make sure to mention that you just cost him $0.50 for nothing. He's also a Wheel-smith and an excellent one. I mean I build wheels, but this guy creates them. Ritchie rides year round on a few bikes that he built himself from the ground up, of course. Ritchie will pop up at Critical Mass every so often and I'm always happy to see him, not everybody shares that opinion. His knowledge of bike mechanics is unmatched, not even I can hold a candle to that. But sometimes he can be a little patronizing and people can take it the wrong way. I've heard from reliable sources that he even managed to make a douche cry once(I got it from the ex-girlfriend of the douche). This man might have a few missing elements in the people skill department, but he makes it up big time in mechanical skills. Ritchie is a rich man, not because he has a lot of money, but because he lives the way he wants to and doesn't give a damn about any complicated nonsense. I envy him. I don't have a picture of Ritchie, but if you ever meet him, you'll know right away who you have in front of you.

There are tons of other people that I have cross tire threads with out there. If you haven't seen yourself in this article, don't feel bad. I can't make this article too long, I don't remember your name, I don't have a picture of you or I don't feel like sharing you with the rest of the world. The most important part is the joy of riding together and sharing our love for the ride. Here's hoping to meeting you out there and for you to make the acquaintance of other bike bums.

Ride safe and free. Godspeed.

Gerry :) 


Cameron W said...

I'm a first time poster, but have been reading much of your blog lately. Thanks for all the info, keep it up!

Gerry Lauzon said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment Cameron. Fresh material is hard to pound out these days, but I'll keep doing my best.

Gerry :)

Blogger said...

Sports betting system earn +$3,624 profit last week!

Z-Code System winning picks and forecasts for MLB, NHL, NBA and NFL...