Farewell to a friend and cyclist

One never knows what awaits us in life.  And today, we had very sad news that reminded us never to take life for granted.

wpid-Photo-Sep-15-2013-955-PM.jpgWhile on our Grand Gaspé Cycling Tour, we met fellow long distance cyclists Robert and Diane Picard.  It was a chance meeting, and the usual trip details were exchanged, but in the few minutes we hovered over our bicycles a bond was formed.  We sensed a common spirit, and 1,000 miles down the road we took them up on their generous offer of hospitality.  They were the ultimate hosts, guiding Photo Sep 16, 5 25 02 AMus through Old Quebec City, opening their home to us, and feeding us well for our continued cycling tour.  We enjoyed long conversations on cycling, grandparenting and retirement with them – all despite the language differences.  We persisted with our limited French to their passable English, and it worked.

Some people talk idly about future plans, but after spending hours pouring over maps together, we left with the certainty that they would come out to Minnesota next summer to cycle with us.  And cycle home again to Quebec!  We didn’t doubt that they would actually do it.  They are that kind of people.  We looked forward to repaying their kindness and spending more time with them, both on our bicycles and off.

So it was with heavy hearts that we learned of Robert’s passing this morning.  His son graciously contacted us, to let us know that he had died swiftly and unexpectedly of a stroke.  The news seemed so implausible, and our hearts go out to Diane and all the family in absorbing this great loss.

Photo Sep 16, 6 57 38 AMRobert’s enthusiasm for life and willingness to share it with others will remain with us forever.  His passion for long distance cycling will continue to be an inspiration, and his and Diane’s friendship will always be a highlight of our Gaspé trip.  It was an honor to know Robert, and we extend our most heartfelt condolences to his family.

Farewell, Robert, and cycle on.

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