Friday, 24 February 2012

Just Getting Started

Welcome to my first blog, which will focus on my passion for cycling and the words Hope and Gratitude which figure so prominently in my life since being diagnosed in 2009 with an incurable but treatable form of non-hodgkins lymphoma.

The idea behind this blog is to share stories about why people ride, and my goal is to provide the reader with some inspiring tales of amazing things that happen when we take to the road, trail or mountain, and what the sport of cycling means to each person individually.

Cycling has saved my life in many ways. It was what helped me begin my regime of weight loss and it helped me bring into focus my physical well-being.  It also reignited a passion for the bicycle which I had since my childhood. Since I can remember, I have loved biking.

And perhaps most importantly, the weight loss from cycling helped me to discover the tumour in my abdomen.... the doctors said cycling may have just saved my life...

How is that for gratitude....

Cycling also gave me hope during my treatments, and gratitude for the many great things that have come out of a bad situation. I don't really know where to start as this blogging thing is all new to me, but I will start with the bright sunny day that I addressed 3000 people at the start of a cancer fundraiser in 2011 for which I was the spokesperson.....

When I finished my treatments for lymphoma in February 2010, I was motivated to get back on my bike as soon as possible, and one of the things I wanted to do was participate in the Ride to Conquer Cancer which is a two-day event covering 250 kms. between Montreal an Quebec City.  Unfortunately, I wasn't strong enough to participate in the 2010 edition, so I trained hard and was able to ride 7500 kms in my first year post-chemo. Last year, 8100 kms. The treatments gave me my life back, my bike keeps me healthy, and my passion for cycling keeps me focused and happy.

Last year, I decided I was ready and signed up to do the ride.  Not long after, the community in which I work, friends and family all got behind me and helped me raise an astonishing $43,000!  And because I was treated at the hospital for which this event benefits, I was kindly asked to speak on behalf of all the people who have been touched by cancer - which is pretty well every one of us in some way or another.

I will remember this day as one of the highlights of my life to date...

Here is the speech (although a large portion of it is in French). The theme: Hope and Gratitude

So many stories to share and not sure where to start, but I feel this will take on a life of its own.
Please share your stories with me - we all have one or two to tell..

Thanks for visiting.... just getting started....

The View from My Podium, July 9, 2011:


  1. I had a number of family and friends who took part in the Ride in 2011, and independent of each other, they all mentioned your motivational speech. I've even heard a reference to it during a committee meeting for another fundraising cause that I work for. Your response to this health challenge and your love of the bike are having an impact on more people than you can imagine. On my blog site alone (, hundreds of people have read about your journey. I expect many more will follow you here.

  2. Nice job Rob. Your strong determination and positive attitude set a fine example. Keep up the great work.

  3. Rob, this is a great blog. Ive managed to lose 2 sets of comments to the google-mafia so a short trial before I write something more meaningful...

  4. Ok, I'm-in.

    Rob, hats-off to you for doing so much good for so many people. And for the inspiration you give to others and to me personally.

    Not that long ago, you'd be the guy seating and panting at the back, and that's just which sightseeing with the kids. Then you emerged like a beautiful butterfly, colourful in your lycra with calves of iron and buns of steel. I've been a cyclist all my life, and like to think I'm half-decent. But now when I ride with Rob all I get to see are those buns for several hours but at least he waits at the top.

    So here's to cycling, where grown men (and women) get to dress up, sneak out at 06:30 on a cold Sunday morning, and take the long way round to Tim Hortons. Here's to making a difference, here's to inspiration, to riding with hope and gratitude, here's to friends old and new, and above all...screw you cancer !!!

  5. I'm sorry, I don't mean to hog the blog, it's just that with the time difference (I'm in England), I've actually managed to sneak a ride in tonight....

    ....when Rob was diagnosed and subsequently fought back, it had a profound "life's too short" effect on me. And I found myself re-prioritising things that had been mis-prioritised; mainly my family and friends got bumped back to top of list. Part of this was a decision to buy a cottage near the sea, 2.5 hrs from where I live, for weekends, vacations and of course CYCLING. This was mostly inspired by some fantastic times spent cycling with Rob in Mass and the great family vacations there. So an evening on e-bay saw me with a classic retro steelie that i can leave down there. Now I've read a lot of articles about the zen of a fixed wheel bike - all that guff about a 6th sense for reading the road, getting into the flow, being at one with your machine etc etc etc.

    So tonight I got my baby-blue fixie, torqued up Keos and went out for my first fixed wheel ride. Now perhaps 4.45pm with light drizzle, fading light and drivers hopped-up on caffeine isn't the perfect set of road conditions, but all that zen stuff is rubbish- I've never been so scared in my life! Youre rarely in he right gear, either spinning furiously or in danger if being flipped over the bars by the cranks which feel like they're attached to a 5tonne flywheel..

    I will try again, maybe when it's a bit quieter, but in the meantime I've snuck back on e-bay and ordered a 16 tooth freewheel. Moral of the story, yes try new stuff because life is too short, but engineers invented the freewheel casette for a reason.

    If any of Robs friends are ever in the UK, that makes us friends too and you're more than welcome to stay, we'll swap embarrasing stories about Rob over a glass of red and I may even lend you the baby-blue fixie...

  6. Rob- great layout -keep blogging.
    A rather terse post from me,
    normally the epitome of of pleonasm
    yr old friend


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