On his way to 1 million: Lindsay Gauld

Bad ass. For real.

Like most people who spend their leisure time on a bike, I have a cyclocomputer.  Although I don’t “train,” worry about my “wattage,” or go particularly “fast,” it is fun to keep an eye on my speed and watch the odometer increase.  Unlike cars, which depreciate with every additional kilometre, a bike (and especially its rider) longs for the bragging rights that come with great distances.

As we get older, we cover more ground; instead of resting on our laurels (the “laurel” is a special Brooks saddle available on or after your sixtieth birthday), some of us push harder and create new goals.  I remember one man who I rode with in Aix-en-Provence.  He was the founder of the local club, and he looked about 70.  Foolishly, I thought the ride would be leisurely and that I’d get a chance to chat with the patriarch.  I’m fairly sure he rolled back into town a good 45 minutes before I did.  A week or so later, as I was riding through Aix, I felt a hand on my back and heard “Toronto, ça-va?”  Like most people who are awesome, his mnemonic device was to associate a person with their place of origin.  So, I was Toronto (I supposed he also could have called me the French equivalent of “slow poke” or, more insulting, “bonk boy.” Both terms were apt descriptions of my first club ride).   He was gracious enough to invite me back for another ride.  It old him I’d do my best to make it, but I doubt any of them were surprised when I didn’t arrive the following week.

I bet that man is still at it.  Every weekend.  I was reminded of that story by an article in the Winnipeg Free Press about Lindsay Gauld.  A former Olympian, and currently working (at the age of 61) as a bicycle courier, Gauld has recorded his kilometrage for over 40 years.  In 1981, he founded a bike and ski shop, which he sold just four years ago.  Instead of retiring, he decided to work as a messenger.

“It’s a healthy way to spend my life. Somehow it feels righteous to keep one car off the road. It’s a way of going out riding all day with my wife (Lynne’s) blessing,” he said.

Gauld is at 919,000 kilometres.  At this rate, he hopes to hit 1 million by May 2013.  Put in perspective, that’s like going to the moon, returning to earth, and getting half way there again.

Old-timey awesomeness.

To spend 40 years cycling (and still want to do more) is quite an accomplishment.  We should all be so lucky.

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