Q & A with the hottest cycling club in Powell River
My Dad, PJ Behan, is a 64-year-old retired mill worker that has lived in Powell River his entire life. He regularly goes to the gym and rides his bike to stay fit, and be social, in his retirement. He rides his bike a few times a week with the same group of guys, most of whom are also retired. A group of them once rode from Powell River all the way to the Mexican border, just for kicks. You’ve probably even seen them riding through town, and waved as they’ve gone by. They are a rather cheerful bunch.
Their bike club meets before every ride at McDonald’s to have a coffee, and often on the way home, stop again for coffee, and sometimes breakfast, at Julie’s Airport Cafe.
My brothers (the guys that help run this website) and my boyfriend have all joined the group for a ride at one time or another, and they love it! I haven’t been along on a ride yet myself, so I thought I would interview my Dad, to get an idea of what this prestigious bike club is all about. I hope you enjoy it!
Powtown Post: When did the cycling club start?
PJ Behan: Well, it’s not really a club. It’s just a group of friends. Al Craigen and I did the BC Lung Association ride about 15 years ago and we started riding together to practice. When I retired 7 years ago, we started riding Mon, Wed & Fri and there were about 5 of us. The group has been expanding ever since.
PP: Do you always meet at McDonald’s to start the rides?
PJ: We used to meet at Robin’s Donuts, then the A&W, now McDonald’s.
PP: When did you start going to Julie’s Airport Cafe for breakfast?
PJ: We used to go to Edgehill Store and then it closed, so we started going to Julie’s probably about 4 years ago. It’s on the way home for most of the guys.
PP: Where is your favourite place for coffee in town?
PJ: Julie’s, Wildwood Motors, and the store in Sliammon.
PP: How many times have you welcomed special guests on rides (like your kids)?
PJ: We’ve had many guests, including sons, one grandson (Charlie Gatt’s), Doug Evans (former resident), friends, etc.
We have had a couple of guys that grew up here and moved away, that moved back, and they joined. Also, this month a new resident to Powell River joined. He had asked at the gym if there was a riding club in town and Lorne (from Avid Fitness) told him about the club.
We have a retired doctor that rides and he has invited other doctors to join us. We’ve had people that have just been visiting and found out about it.
PP: Do you ride rain or shine?
PJ: Yes, we do now, since Gerard (Martin) joined. He’s a logger and thought we were wimps for not going in the rain.
PP: Would you say this group is more for exercise, or for friendship?
PJ: Both, but the social aspect is probably the main motivator.
PP: What’s the glue holding your group together week after week? How are you so consistent?
PJ: The humour. Most of the riders are retired so they have the time, and we really enjoy each other’s company.
PP: Do you do any ‘new biker’ initiations?
PJ: Nope. You just show up if you want to show up. (Although, there are rumours that my Dad gives everyone an “air sermon” when they join. The more air in your tires = the faster you’ll go!)
PP: What would you say to someone who is on the fence about riding with you?
PJ: Get off the fence!
PP: What is your favourite part about riding with this group of guys every week? Do you have a favourite memory?
PJ: Favourite part is looking forward to the rides. This is a very positive group of people. Favourite memories are the rides out of town, to Texada, Vancouver Island, and Cortez.
PP: If you could have any sponsor in Powell River for your cycling group, who would it be?
PJ: Frank Chrinko – Suncoast Cycles.
PP: Are women allowed to ride with the group?
PJ: Yes, but so far we have only had one woman come out to ride with us.
Well, we need to change that!
I do know a few of the guys my Dad rides with, and they are definitely a friendly group. I’ll go for a ride with them myself, and tell you how it goes.
And if you happen to be a cyclist, are new in town and looking for someone to ride with, reach out to these road warriors. I’m sure they’d let you join them. My Dad says there’s an average of 10-12 guys that show up for each ride now. Powell River really only has 2 degrees of separation, so you probably already know someone, who knows someone in the group. If not, just show up at McDonald’s one morning for coffee. 😉
Happy cycling! And thanks for the interview, Dad.