The following is the last of three parts of "My Cycling History".
Spring came early in 2010 and I was riding hard by the end of March. Life started to get busy and cycling was getting pushed off to the side at times. I bought a house, got engaged, and became a foreman at work with new responsibilities. I didn't realize how time consuming owning a house would be. It seemed there was always a project to do, big or small, that ate into my riding time. It was at this point that I would have to learn to balance my time for myself with time at home and with my wife. I struggled at first because I still wanted to be that "kid" riding my bike around and exploring, but I also wanted to spend time with the future Mrs. Bric.
Time passed and new years started, I sold my '08 Avalanche in favour of something newer - a 2011 Cannondale 29er. The 29" wheels felt perfect, it was like riding IN the bike instead of ON the bike. That was the "gateway" bike to other silly things like singlespeeds and fat bikes which would come later.
I traded an old mountain bike for a Nishiki International, a top end touring bike in its day, and planned my first bicycle tour. I rode to each historical plaque in Norfolk and into Brant over three days. Touring was great, another way to explore by bike and capture the kid feeling again.
Life changed again when disaster struck our family. My grandmother was killed in a car accident. She was the first person to die who I truly loved. She always supported my cycling addiction and loved to see the photos I had taken of various places in Ontario I had ridden. Cycling became a coping mechanism for me, a way to escape from home and ease the pain of her passing. I took my emotional turmoil one day and one ride at a time, eventually healing myself and being able to forgive and forget. It was in her honour that I bought my Norco CCX3. That bike has become known, between my wife and I, as "Grandma's Bike".
Mrs. Bric and I were happily married and I was thrilled to be spending the rest of my life with my best friend. It wasn't long after that we had our first child, Little Bric. He changed my life in a way I can't describe. It felt like being a dad was the purpose in life I hadn't realized until he was born. My cycling time had been severely cut back but I didn't mind, my little family was more important than getting that ride in. I started to manage my time better and rode once or twice a week, either with the sunrise or at night with my lights. Its hard to go out and be a kid when the responsibilities stack up at home. I had people to shelter and feed, that was more important than any bike or upgrade. My days of buying expensive blinged out bikes were fading away. I would have to be creative to afford my cycling hobby. I began buying bikes and selling parts as a way of affording replacement parts so my paycheque could be there to keep the lights on.
As soon as my son was able to hold his head up on his own, I strapped a helmet on him and plunked him down in the Chariot trailer and pulled him around by bike. At first it was mostly a way for me to ride, Mrs. Bric to get some relax time, and Little Bric to sleep. As he got older he began to stay awake in the trailer longer and would look at things passing us by, showing interest in these strange new sights. One of his first words was "bike". At two years old I could see the wonder on his face as we explored by bike together. I knew then that he would have the same need for adventure and exploration that I did as a child, and he most definitely had the same imagination that I did.
It wasn't long after my son was born that my grandfather passed away. A talented artist and loving family man, he gave me alot of guidance through my teens and early 20's and taught me about trust and patience. He also told me to follow my dreams and not give up on myself or anything I do. Thats something that stays in my mind everyday, never give up. Whether it be a tough ride, or an overwhelming project at home, or dirty jobs at work, I have not given up. This is something that I will pass onto my kids, to see something through to the end.
Cycling again became a coping mechanism and got me through the hard time following my grandfathers passing. I decided it would be good for me to ride during the snowy months, both for my sanity and that of my wife's. I saved enough money to buy a fat bike. The 4" wide tires would take me over snow and rough terrain like no other bike I've ever owned. I could not afford much as bills had to be paid, so I opted for a mail order bike opposed to one from a bike shop. It was great and was a hoot to ride in the winter. It kept me from my usual winter depression.
That spring my Cannondale frame cracked. It was under warranty and was replaced (after a 3 month wait) but I ended up selling the frame and parting it out, settling on riding the fat bike year round. Riding the same old trails on a bike as radically different as the fat bike made everything feel new again. The fat bike has a huge fun factor that brought the kid in me out again. The fat bike was alot quicker than people would think and I was able to ride the same pace I did before, albeit on a much heavier and simpler bike. It was a conversation starter among cyclists. I would get stopped and asked about it nearly each ride from cyclists and non-cyclists alike. You have to be a friendly ambassador of the sport when people stop to ask you about your "monster truck bike".
By now the TPMBC was in full swing and had a few years under its belt and a growing membership. More and more trails were being built and alot more riders were enjoying the hidden gem that I had been riding for the last decade. Turkey Point was becoming a mountain bike destination in Ontario. People were coming from hours away to enjoy the always excellent conditions and early spring riding at TP.
This area will continue to grow and will be one of the premier destinations to ride in Ontario. It is the home of twisty flowing singletrack. In all my travels of the province I have never ridden such well laid out, twisty, rolling singletrack. Sure, some places have more in elevation gain, or technical features, or down right gnarly riding but here on Ontario's south coast we are the home of 'flow'. Its an area that does not disappoint.
Last year my daughter was born. She is just like her big brother, an imaginative and happy kid. I can't wait to get her out in the bike trailer this spring along with her brother. I can only hope that the cycling bug bites my kids as hard as it did me, and hopefully somewhere between Ninja Turtles and trips to the library there will be time for the family to get out and enjoy cycling together.
This winter I was able to buy and sell enough bike related stuff to build another 29er so I can flip flop back and fourth between the fat and 29er. If you've been following My Winter Project you know what I'm talking about. It might be old, but its going to be fun, cheap, and reliable, something that is important when you have two children and a single income.
I'm riding less now that I have a family to worry about but cycling is still a big part of my life. It has made me test my personal limits, helped me through rough times, and gotten me out of the house and away from TV and video games. These days I don't do much road tripping and I ride early in the morning on weekends with the odd after work ride here and there, and I've started riding to work recently to get more ride time in and hopefully lose some weight. I'm planning some big things in the near future, an overnight tour with my son, taking my son and daughter along in the Tour de Norfolk, being more involved with the TPMBC, and just generally riding as much as I can and enjoying it. I can't wait to see where cycling takes me over the next 30 or so years and as long as it stays fun I won't complain. The bicycle has already taken me many amazing places in life, with more to come I'm sure.
So whats your cycling history?
The Bric...._ mountain biker, road rider, heavyweight gear abuser. Built like a brick sh*thouse. No bike is safe.