I love Cycling, I love Europe
Back in 1985 I was in grade 9 and by chance I joined a local cycling club. It was a very small group of us, who joined this rare “cycling” club. It was a time when most ventured in the typical high school sports, hockey, basketball, swimming, baseball etc. But it took one brave teacher Mr. McIntyre who was into cycling, and he taught us about the sport. During this time, it was my grade 9 homeroom neighbor Domenic who would change my life forever. It was his drawings of funny frame TT bikes, it was daily conversations about his “Winning” Magazines, which led me to my path. I was more and more drawn to cycling and I have my grade 9 classmate, to thank for that. When everyone around me thought hockey, and baseball and North American sports, my dreams and thoughts were of LeMond and Hinault doing battle throughout France and Italy. A significant amount of years did pass, where I did not make time for cycling. I live with that regret every day while I try to make up for lost time.
France is my Mecca, my Golden Temple. To me, its cycling’s holiest ground and cycling is my religion. To me, the most holiest of holy worlds is the Arenberg Forest in Northern France. Thousands pay homage to this place for its history. Arenberg to me is like an Indian bathing in Ganges or stepping foot into the Golden Temple. To me, France holds cycling’s holy grail. Enshrined in history, there are Arenberg-Roubaix, Ventoux, Tourmalet, and L’Alpe D’Huez. Just the mention of those names will have any enthusiast of the sport, peeked with interest.
As a cyclist, you cannot help but be drawn to Europe, as the heart of Cycling lives there. For over two decades I've watched my heroes ride through roads of Belgium, France and Italy. Its the passion I have for this sport which creates the passion I naturally have for Europe. That skinny Indian kid from Toronto, Canada still dreams of Europe every day. Even though I am separated by the Atlantic, as a cyclist, I now have the internet to bridge the distance. In years past, it was simply the television footage which painted my picture of Europe for me. However, in today’s world of internet blogs, and online maps, and other online technology, the Internet has helped bridge the gap and has created even more desire to visit and hopefully one day reside in Europe.
Europe will be more than a trip for myself. I see it as a religious pilgrimage. It’s a land where my ashes will one day lay. So many people can’t understand why a Canadian boy is so in love with that continent ? Simple, its all about cycling.
And yes, that skinny Indian kid is coming back…