Cyclist getting his klicks

Spins toward million mark

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 09/02/2010 (4677 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

 

 

Lindsay Gauld is no astronaut but the mileage he has piled up over the past four-and-a-half decades is out of this world.

His odometer has just passed the 919,000-kilometre mark and at his current pace of about 30,000 km a year, he hopes he’ll pass the magic million some time before his 65th birthday in May 2013.

Those numbers might be common for airplanes or a space shuttle but Gauld, 61, has done it all on a bicycle. (Actually, 50 or 60 bicycles.)

If you’re not a numbers person, Gauld has essentially gone to the moon and back and then nearly half-way to the moon again.

Gauld knows how far he has gone because he has tracked his road work since he took up cycling in 1966. As a competitive cyclist, he started graphing his mileage to plan his training properly so he could peak at the proper times. Today, he does it out of habit as a bike courier with Sierra Courier.

"It’s easier now because I’ve got a bike computer. I have that goal of one million kilometres now so I do it to keep track. I’ve always been a compulsive-obsessive," he said.

Gauld said he didn’t want to put his feet up four years ago after selling Olympia Cycle & Ski, which he founded in 1981, and being a bike courier seemed like a logical thing to do.

"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 puts in about 650 km during the work week and then goes for a few "shorter" rides on the weekend.

"I’m the opposite of most working people," he said. "They sneak in a little ride during the week and go for longer rides on the weekend. I need a rest by then."

Gauld said he believes he is still the only road cyclist from Manitoba ever to make the Olympic team. (During his 208-km race in Munich, he was one of 24 cyclists involved in a crash. He ended up crossing the finish line in 61st place.)

"It’s more about the journey than the destination," he said.

As disappointed as he was to have crashed, Gauld said he quickly realized the relative insignificance of his race, which came three days after 11 Israeli athletes and coaches plus one West German police officer were killed by terrorists in the Munich Massacre.

He said the athletes’ village consisted of townhouses and the Canadians were only two rows away from where the Israelis were staying.

"We could see the police commanders on the roof of the South Koreans’ building with machine guns. We were all evacuated from the village at that point. We went through a large parking lot. It was lined with soldiers in trucks with large guns. They weren’t sure what was going to happen or where," he said.

"The terrorists cut their way through the fence right by the end of our building (when they broke in). I felt really badly for the Israelis. That was the end of innocence in sport."

Nearly 40 years after his Olympics, Gauld still races competitively. He completed a 135-mile race on snowmobile trails in Minnesota last weekend. Riding on "big fat-tire bikes" he clocked in at 23 hours and 28 minutes, good for 11th out of 102 riders.

He even takes a bike with him when he goes on holidays. Sometimes, if it’s going to be too much hassle, he arranges to rent a bike at his destination, as he’s doing in Houston later this month.

"I’ll probably just ride 90 minutes a day. We have other things we want to look at there. If I was just going to ride all day, I might as well stay here," he said, before adding hastily, "if it was a race, though, I’d take my own bike."

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

 

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