Leslie and Rob Cooke - Member Profile - CycleBlaze

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Leslie and Rob Cooke

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Escaping the smoke 42

About

We are Leslie and Rob, a couple in our 60's, seeking adventures in our retirement.  We live in the beautiful Okanagan, British Columbia where we spend the warmer months but head to Mexico when it's cold enough to turn the furnace on. 

Feeling warm in Merida, Yucatan

I am new to cycling only having just learnt to ride a bike at 60, but Rob did a fair amount of cycling in his teens before he obtained his license and it was far cooler driving around in a car than riding a bike.

Rob's bike - a Phillips 10 speed racing bike

Fast forward to 2017, when newly retired, we were looking for adventure and came up with the idea of testing out a tandem.  I hadn't ridden a bike since my early teens and thought a tandem would be interesting, easy and fun -  it was interesting and fun but it wasn't easy!  We bought our first used tandem, an old Norco - a big, heavy green machine.  Upon returning from our first venture out on the green machine, we both laid out on the floor, gasping for breath for the next half hour.  This, after only riding 3 km's tops.  But we were hooked.

The green machine was sold to a lovely, adventurous couple with twin girls

The idea of cycling across Canada started popping into our heads and so we started planning, pouring over maps, reading blogs, watching videos and of course researching for a better tandem in which to do this adventure.  We settled on buying a used Bike Friday Tandem Two'sDay.  Mainly because it folded for ease of transportation.  I still remember our first time out on the bike, early spring, and not half a kilometer from home when we hit a pile of deep sand leftover from sanding the roads in winter, and down we went.  I began to have my doubts.

A handy guy to have around

We gained more confidence with each outing and by the end of that summer we had bought our gear and went on a overnight trial of sorts.  It was a success and we bought our tickets for the following spring 2020.  Destination - Europe.  A 2 month tour. We were excited for the cycling adventure to begin but first a trip to Mexico to warm up.

Taking a short break from a long hill

In March of 2020 we were still in Merida and about to fly home to Canada to prepare for our departure for Europe.  Instead we found ourselves changing our tickets  for an earlier flight and cancelling our trip to Europe. What a disappointment and so many changes to come.  But we are grateful for our good health and that of our family and friends.

Grandkids bring us much joy - 3 more have been added since this picture was taken

This past year and a half has been a blur. We were ill-equipped  to spend the winter in Vernon where we live and luckily our daughters basement suite became available.  Meanwhile I decided I wanted more control and a different view than from behind a tandem, sorry Rob.  We purchased a used Bike Friday pocket sport for me and Rob rides a Bike Friday pocket companion, which we already owned .  

This past summer 2021 we went on our first multi-day tour on Vancouver Island and had a wonderful time.  It has us itching for more.  In 2022 we will either be touring Europe, doubtful, or Canada.   

My friend Debbra giving me some encouragement

Meanwhile after missing a winter in Merida, we have returned to Mexico and with the poor decision of not bringing our bikes with us.  We have now purchased a couple of economical folders that we can explore the city and a bit beyond into the countryside with.  I am not a confident rider and this has been a big challenge for me riding in such a busy city but it has also been good.  We both gained weight during covid and can't say no to the delicious food here so we better keep pedaling. 

We can't seem to get a decent set of tires here - a problem with the glass riddled streets of Merida