Wednesday, September 11, 2013

London Ontario Cyclist Profile: The Real Richard Sleegers

I can't remember the name of them, but there's a set of questions with a french name that CBC radio often uses to interview authors and artists and stuff. I've tried to google it, but I can't find it. If anybody knows PLEASE comment and remind me.
Anyway, in the spirit of those "standard" questions asked of many different people, I have decided to make a standard set of my own, which I will use from this day forward for every London Ontario Cyclist Profile, fake or real. They are quite intentionally a mix of cycling and off-the-wall stuff.
My new friend Richard Sleegers is being kind enough to be the first to respond to this awesome set of one dozen questions, so let's get to it: 
1) People cycle for all kind of reasons. What are your top ones?

RS: Being slightly on the cheap side, the economy appeals to me, saves on gas, delays getting a second vehicle. I commute to work and it’s actually faster than bus, but I’m glad there’s now the option to use the bike rack on the LTC. It also helps keep my fitness up, and weight down. Plus it’s about the only time I can wear spandex, at least in public.

2) Have you ever spent any time (even a couple of hours) in jail? If so, what for?

RS:I once spent 5 minutes in a cell at the Children’s Safety Village at Fanshawe, but other than that, no! It’s true that I can’t leave the country, but that’s because I haven’t applied for a passport since the new border rules came in effect.

RW note: This is possibly the most wholesome answer this question could possibly have. Well done, RS!

3) Do you have a favourite London bike shop? Which one?

RS: It has shifted as bike shops come and go (RIP All Season Sport), currently it is Village Cycle. In the past I’ve also bought from Reynold Cycle, and To Wheels. I even have an old Fiori Excella from Champion Bicycles that I bought 30 years ago, although it needs a bit of work to be road-worthy again.

4) What is your favourite place to cycle recreationally?
I’d have to give the London’s Thames Valley Parkway a pretty good grade, especially early in the morning before they become crowded with long dog leashes and the headphone zombies. Otherwise it’s the open country road (a quiet one with a wide shoulder) for training rides.

5) Wine or beer? Neither? Both? Other?
Beer! I’ll drink wine to be polite, or if its free. But I often go weeks without drinking either one. Coke (the soda kind) might be my kryptonite, it’s great for when I’m training, not so much when I’m less active, and I can’t stand the diet versions.

6) Got any hobbies (other than cycling)?

Triathlon, running, (both middle-of-the-pack, you can see my times at Athlinks), camping (the trailer kind), home automation (basic electronics and embedded systems). I keep up on consumer technology trends and I’m usually asked questions about computers and phones and tablets and internet, but I’m actually a late adopter myself.

7) What would you consider a "dream bike" right now?

Anything Cervelo gets me excited but I think I’d be too worried about it getting scratched or stolen. The Marin Fairfax SC6 looks like a sweet replacement for my current commuter; it has internal hub drivetrain! front dynamo hub! hydraulic brakes! puncture-resistant tires!

8) How much/often do you ride your bike?

Daily! During the week for commuting on my heavily used Gary Fisher bike (I think pretty much only the frame is original after a few winters), and sometimes training on the weekend on a Cannondale road bike. I recently spent a day my daughter with hauling her around in a bike trailer just to prove it can be done, and we’ll often use the trailer while camping, too.

Richard with his Gary Fisher commuter bike,
looking way more fit than me. Jerk.
9) Demographics: Give me your age, gender, family/marital status, job if you want, the works.
I’m currently in the 40-44 age group (as we say in the running/triathlon industry) with a wife and young daughter. I work as a software developer.

10) Any tips or tricks you've learned that you would like to share? Cycling and non-cycling answers welcome!

Don’t eat yellow snow! Most important cycling tip I have is to leave yourself room! WE ARE TRAFFIC! This means take the lane - a lot of close calls I have had were with vehicles trying to squeeze past me. By forcing them to slow down and pass, you have room to maneuver if it gets tight. I’m more aggressive on this since I’ve been “door-prized”, although my winter padding saved me from serious injury. This also means leaving room for when cars “don’t see you” and turn in front, so you have time to stop or avoid. I assume that I am invisible unless I see eye contact, and even then I am wary. I’ve also had a shouting match or two with motorists in the past, but in the end I can’t change their behaviour, so now when I hear a shout (though it’s not like I can hear the whole sentence anyways as the vehicle zooms by) I just assume it’s something like, “looking good”, or “I wish I was riding”, to which I can wave back graciously.

11) If you can, tell me one thing about yourself that most people would never guess.

Twenty years ago, my answer was that I was a closet cyclist. No more! Now I cycle outside! You might think I’d be a big bike sports fan, but I never got into watching events like the Tour de France (even before/during/after the whole Lance thing). I did once do the Tour de Norfolk. That was fun.

12) If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would your favourite movie be?

Peanut Butter, au naturel, the Motion PictureTM! However, the sequel was a bit nutty. Recently I discovered Banana Granola Peanut Butter, so I may have a new favourite. Movies-wise I like sci-fi, war themed, and, shh! romantic comedies.

Thanks Richard! I thought those answers were pretty damn good. I also think that set of questions will do quite nicely in future. Speaking of the future, I want to profile more London Ontario cyclists! Do you know somebody who might be good, including yourself? Lemme know.

Yer Pal,

R  A N T W I C K


RoadQueen said...

Great interview! Keep it up, Rantwick! XO

limom said...

The Bernard Tivo questions like at the end of Inside the Actors Studio?

RANTWICK said...

Limom - Eureka! It is actually the Proust Questionnaire , but you led me to it because Bernard Pivot popularized it!

Bless you! It was really bugging me.

Richard Sleegers said...

Oh, and another tip for #10, if you are cycling near the river and you approach a cloud of gnats or whatever is swarming down there, breath through your nose! I've had to choose between swallowing a bug or trying to hack it up, usually it's easier to do the former, but sometimes the buggers take a few tries to get down!

Also, Rantwick, if it helps, I used to be 15-20 pounds heavier, even while cycling nearly an hour a day; it took another discipline (running and/or swimming) to really keep the weight down while eating (mostly) the foods I like.

RANTWICK said...

River bugs! Gah! That sound on my helmet!

Re: poundage - You're right; it is gonna take more than a daily bike ride at my age and stage. D\

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