Friday, May 30, 2008

Off the beaten trail

by Roby Holland, National Sales Manager


This week I was on the road once again and for those who know me it usually means flying from Boston to where ever. This time was differnt, my trip was to up into Canada and the airfare was outrageous. Instead I decided to drive, it would cost half as much as the flight and with a new Thule bike rack atop my car I could bring my bike along and maybe get a ride or two in along the way.

On my way from Montreal to Toronto I was feeling the need to pull over and take a break. I pulled over in this town just north of Cornwall to fill up on gas and see if there was a bike shop around that could point me in the right direction for a afternoon ride. The guy behind the counter pointed me down the highway to a shop call Kalrim. Mind you I was in the middle of nowhere and I had a feeling that the shop was going to have a "gone fishing" sign hung on the door when I got there, I was wrong.

When I went in the store I met Parminder "Cookie" Kalsi, the owner. The store was small and decorated with pictures of hockey stars and cycling events from days long along. If you took the time to look closely you would see that Cookie was in most, if not all, the cycling pictures. In fact he was a top mechanic back in the day over in Europe and was on the circuit for a long time.

His craft brought him over to Canada working for companies like Speedwell and Yamaha. Yes, Yamaha was in the bike business back in the day. The companies that he worked for ended up going out of business and so he opened up Kalrim. In my conversation you could see that he loved the work that he was doing and that he was very passionate about cycling.

We had a great conversation about his ski tuning machine parked out in the back of his shop. The machine was similar to the one that I used when I was working as a ski tech and the conversation brought back memories of the fun times I had working in the shop.

After talking for awhile Cookie showed me the local bike trail and pointed out the route that I should take. I wanted to stay longer but I still had a long drive ahead and daylight was creeping away. So, with a farewell to Cookie, I headed off for my ride on the Cornwall bike trail.

Forty-Four miles later I was still eager to ride some more. The trail took me downtown and along the river through islands, it was awesome. I had never ridden a trail before on my road bike but it was great! No, cars to worry about - smooth pavement with no potholes! It was the way cycling should be experienced. The ride and my time meeting Cookie made my trip all the more worth it!

The long boring drive ahead of me passed quickly as I played back in my mind the day's ride. I will never forget this and I will look forward to doing it again in the next time I have to do this trip.

To Cookie,
Thanks for the maps and the direction, the ride was more then I was expecting! Take care and I look forward to seeing you again!

3 comments:

Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

Those are the best rides and shops; the unexpected, hidden gems.

That is a beautiful area. Next time, stop in Montreal and ride in the city too; the ride up the Mont is awesome. The bike path along the St Lawrence river in Montreal is breathtaking as well. Promise.

Anonymous said...

Hey Tim,
Looks like your feeling better. I was out of time in Mont to do a ride. I wanted to go along the river and see them set up for the F1 event. Hope you are feeling better and have a fast recovery. Take care of yourself!
Cheers Roby

Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

Roby- Montreal is a great city, so leave it on your map to return. One of the biggest downers to my injury is that I might not be able to go to the BTAC show in August. And even if I do go, I'll have to leave my bike at home for the first time.

The healing is happening, but like most athletes, I wish I was healing faster.