BECOMING A CYCLIST By Janice Fairley
There’s a secret society to which most are not privy
In which members don gear resembling bright-coloured skivvies
Like many Vancouverites, I, too, was confounded
By these of groups of “MAMILs”, on every street they abounded!
Then the day after Christmas, by a strange twist of fate
My destiny altered when I happened to infiltrate
A small Lotus gathering full of good cheer; I could tell
That it all trickled down from their leader, Rachelle.
I was invited to join, which I thought was just great
I’d been looking for ways to get into good shape.
I ordered a ‘kit’ and dusted off my old steed
And on the first Wednesday training, rode to UBC.
A vast sea of cyclists dressed in pink, orange and black
And a hug from Rachelle, there was no turning back.
Renowned Coach Christine led us out to the street
Where rubber and sweat and determination all meet.
Spanish Banks and Camousin then that god-awful Crit
Just three laps and a fire in my legs had been lit!
What’s the deal…I’m an athlete and far from being lazy?!!
The answer, I knew, is that cyclists are CRAZY!
This revelation, unsettling, but I set it aside
And I joined them at Be Fresh for the Saturday ride
Marvin’s C Group did SPloops at a respectable pace
Though the back of the peloton was usually my place.
I noticed a grey-haired gent in my wake
Who, no matter how hard I rode, I just couldn’t shake.
None other than Ray Markham, I was inspired to learn
Well into his 80’s with energy to burn!
In the next couple of weeks, I missed a few sessions
I was ready to quit, is my sorry confession
But encouragement and coaching by a guy named Bassim
Helped me push through my doubts and become part of the team.
Horseshoe Bay, Iona then out to Port Moody
Keeping those pedals turning was my ONLY duty.
Fitness and skills improved as I worked
So I signed up for a fondo run by the great Axel Mercks.
The morning arrived, a great sight to be seen
As our group headed out like a well-oiled machine.
Thank goodness it was cloudy to save us from baking
Cause 92 K ain’t no small undertaking.
In perfect formation, along the lake we all went
Toward ‘King of the Mountain’, that legendary ascent.
They say it’s where chaff separates from the wheat
And young Sharon Markham was the rider to beat!
Several killer hills followed but we met after each one
To rehydrate and ensure we were all still having “fun”.
I’m eternally grateful to my awesome cycling kin
Especially Allan Holmes for his ‘cutting of wind!
I returned to Vancouver, newly inspired
Promptly replaced my steel steed with a sweet carbon fibre;
A few rides in Italy from Hotel Belvedere
And the cycling-life vision has become crystal clear.
With a small measure of pride, I’ve shared my own story
Of this inaugural year, with no great feats of glory;
But fitness, friendships and a fun new TEAM SPORT
The future looks bright so I’m compelled to report…
That despite my misgivings a mere 5 months ago
Thanks to Lotus, I’m A Cyclist now, don’t y’all know!