I always loved riding my bike.

I honestly don't remember what even prompted it or why I thought it was a good idea at the time, but when I went back to Carleton for my second year, I brought my trusty mountain bike with me. My dorm room was tiny so I used a bunch of coat hangers and hung it from the wall over my bed as that was literally the only option.

Perhaps it says something then that my second date with Hillary was a bike ride. We'd talked about bikes a couple of times, which seemed natural to me. She had done a duathlon or two and had a bike with aerobars.

After working for a couple of years out in Kanata, but living on Dynes Road in Ottawa, I had decided that I was getting out of shape and riding to work would be a good idea. I bought a mid 80's 10-speed for $100 from a used bike store and started riding the 15km one way commute most days.

Hillary's race bike with the aerobars (not installed at the time), was a fully rigid Raleigh mountain bike with slicks.

Hillary had only lived in Ottawa for about 18 months at that point and had not really explored the area. I talked about the parkway network along the river and canals and we went. We rode for a couple of hours.

As we rode she would playfully sprint ahead regularly. She was clearly competitive. I learned later that she trying desperately to show me that she was a good rider, fast and in shape.

Biking would become a fundamental part of my life and a backdrop of our relationship. We would ride across Canada together. We would both commute to work by bike. We never rode together all that much later in our relationship. We always talked about getting an expensive tandem once the kids were out of the house and see if Paris-Brest-Paris would be doable for us.

I'll have the memories, but I have to come up with new dreams now.

MS Bike Tour, 2004. That's a retal bike from somewhere. This would have been after our first date. Our third probably had not happened yet. But she decided to do a big ride with me for the first time.