Doug Massey is currently Bike Ottawa’s Events Coordinator, and we’re happy to introduce him to everyone through his Bike Love story!
Thanks Doug for volunteering your time to help Bike Ottawa, and for sharing your love of bikes.
I’ll take you through a journey of my life with bikes thus far…
My first two wheeled bike was a used CCM Mustang and I can still remember that amazing surprise when my Dad brought it home. That bike was my first bike love. Growing up in the small town of Acton, ON it gave me freedom that was filled with endless bike rides with my friends. A year after getting it, my Dad and I stripped it down, painting it a stunning metallic emerald green, shined up its chrome parts and added a new black banana seat – it was a beauty.
On my tenth birthday, I was given a sky blue 3-speed internal gear bike. That bike was fast and my first N+1! We had recently moved to the edge of town resulting in an amazing ride to and from school. There must have been at least 50 of us cycling to school and probably more if the memory of those many bike racks in our very own bike parking lot is correct.
The next year my parents’ divorced and we moved to Mississauga, ON. We stayed with my Uncle’s family in Meadowvale until we found a new place to live. I could only bring one of my bikes so I chose the Mustang. As with many first loves, heartbreak unfortunately came. After coming back from a ride, I left my bike unlocked in my Mom’s parking space in the underground garage while I had lunch. When I came back, it was gone. I was devastated. I still so miss that bike. A reminder to buy a good bike lock and use it!
When we moved to our own apartment it brought a new school with new friends in another part of Mississauga called Clarkson. City life was certainly going to be different when it came to cycling. That amazing bike parking lot that was at my old school was non-existent at this school.
My next bike was a 10 speed road bike. A short ride from where we lived was a forest that had a maze of wide paths. My friends and I spent endless time there, speeding through the forest, playing bike tag and just hanging out. While we were living in Clarkson, a new friend and his family moved into the building and his older brother had a BMX bike. I was in awe of that bike and how cool he was, which lead to my next bike, a black BMX that had bright yellow 5 spoke rims with matching crash pads. I had nicknamed it “my Bumblebee”.
Then for many years taking jobs that were far from where I lived, and working too many hours, I lost this joy of cycling. After moving to Ottawa, and two years later starting to work downtown, I realized once again how beneficial cycling would be to my life. I had recently been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and it added to my incentive to get back on a bike. I had two bikes those first years that were inexpensive purchases but unfortunately were poor quality. Luckily there was a new bike shop at the time in Hull (Round About Cyclery) that I discovered and they took care of all the needed repairs and more.
In 2014, I purchased a Giant Escape City, my current commuter, from Fresh Air Experience in Westboro. The day I picked it up and being my first true quality bike purchase, I asked the young guy working there what I had to do during the break in period. Above us hung bikes worth thousands of dollars and this bike that I had fallen in love with was only $599 so I started with “I know this bike isn’t the same as all of these expensive bikes….” as I waved my hand pointing to all the bikes above us. His response is something I will never forget, “First and foremost that is a damn good bike you just bought…” and then proceeded to explain the break in period. This bike was super light, and with my briefcase pannier from Two Wheel Gear, commuting from Aylmer to downtown Ottawa as many days as I could were a joy. Hopefully it will be one of my forever bikes.
These days, I’m determined to conquer frost biking. I guess if I say it enough it’ll come true.
So if you’ve read this far, I want to encourage you to teach your kids, your grandkids or someone else’s (close to you) kids to cycle at a young age and give them a lifetime of self-powered happiness, to create memories of freedom, amazing adventures and all of the bike love that comes with it.
Stay safe and bike more friends. xoxo