By Karen Kefauver
February 13, 2015
Link to Sentinel Article
April Herring met Andrew Murray (not pictured) when both were solo riding up Bonny Doon Road in 2012. A year later, he proposed to her by posting a sign at the benches at the top of the climb, where he first asked her to coffee. contributed
There are lots of known benefits of bicycling, including getting in better shape, protecting the environment and enjoying the outdoors. But there’s another, lesser-known perk: You might just meet the love of your life. No one sets out to meet a cycling soulmate on a casual Sunday ride or at a bike shop, but you never know where a two-wheeled adventure might lead. (Or maybe one wheel or three, for that matter).
A trio of couples shared their stories about how they met, bonded and fell in love through cycling. I interviewed each person individually, so they could independently reveal their two-wheeled tales. Now it’s time to compare. Hold on for the ride!
She said: “When I moved to California from Texas in January 2012, part of the draw was all the awesome riding I could do. On Easter Sunday, April 9, I road up the coast to Bonny Doon Road to check it out before the Tour of California came through. I was on my mountain bike and someone was coming up behind me. He was Mr. Chatty Cathy. He was just sitting behind me. I knew he was faster than I was, but he didn’t pass. He said he was tired. At the top of the hill, at the bus stop and benches, he invited me to coffee. I said yes.”
He said: “On Easter Sunday, I decided to go on a bike ride by myself. It was my first major holiday after my divorce. I had recently decided to not pursue dating and let things just unfold naturally. I was riding up Bonny Doon Road and saw a woman up ahead. It’s a long road ride, yet here was this woman on a brand new mountain bike. I was in my usual chatty mood and before long she revealed that she had raced in Leadville (Colorado, a 100-mile mountain bike race that climbs to 12,242 feet). We introduced ourselves at the top of the road, and I asked her to coffee. I was certainly intrigued. Here’s this single, attractive woman, new to the area, a solid cyclist. I thought I would like to get to know her regardless of how it would turn out.”
The Aha Moment
She said: “I invited Andrew to come with me to the Boggs 8-hour Race. He got a race entry too. We camped together and I was totally unprepared for camping. … He came through with all the camping gear.”
He said: “April invited me to go to Boggs with her. At that point, I was thinking there might be more than friendship with us, but I was a little reluctant to go with the undefined relationship. But I thought, ‘What the heck, that sounds fun.’ That first night we camped out, we shared a tent, each of us zipped into our own sleeping bags and there was a large earthquake. We joke that on our first night together, the earth moved.”
She said: “Andrew helped me train for big races, La Ruta (multi-stage mountain bike race held in Costa Rica) and Leadville. What was really nice is he actually biked as much as I did. It’s a way for us to enjoy being together and go see the sites, like riding to Monterey together.”
She said: “Every year on Easter, we ride up Bonny Doon Road. Last April, we rode to the bus stop benches and rested a moment. He said, ‘I have something for you. Close your eyes.’ I was like, ‘What is he doing?’ It turned out he had made this roll-up shade that he had mounted to the roof of the bus station. On it was written: ‘April, will you marry me?’ and he had the ring. I was shocked. I said yes. I still can’t believe I went out riding by myself and ended up meeting my husband shortly after I moved to California.”
He said: “I had picked out a ring, and she didn’t know about it. I snuck up Bonny Doon Road to make a sign a few days before. I just knew that would be the place to propose. It was the first place where we actually looked at each other. The whole ride up, I had been looking at the back of her head.”
April, 38, in marketing at Pacific Plug and Liner, and Andrew, 53, founder of New Growth Talent Solutions, signed up for the inaugural California Gravel Gauntlet, a three-race road series organized by SuperPro Racing. On the first ride last weekend, Andrew’s derailleur broke and April towed him to the finish line with him hanging onto her hydration pack. Now that’s true love.
How They Met
She said: “I was racing for the Bicycle Trip team. John was a mechanic at the shop. One day, John helped me because the usual service manager wasn’t there. I can be finicky about my bike and tightly wound. He was so great and easy-going that it made a really good impression on me.”
He said: “I remember meeting Cory at the Bicycle Trip. But what really stood out to me was when I bumped into Cory riding a fancy titanium bike. I could tell from a distance that she really knows how to ride. It was a casual encounter, but I was impressed that clearly she was a good cyclist.”
She said: “On our second date, we went for a ride up Eureka Canyon, one of my favorite county roads. I started pushing it a little bit, getting out of the saddle, getting into a higher gear. I saw that John was a smooth, strong rider and not ego-driven. He didn’t have to beat me up the hill, he was right there with me.”
He said: “On an early date, she attacked me twice on the ride. She was testing me out but playing around. It put me in a difficult spot. If I were to pass her, she might think I am being a jerk, that my ego can’t handle being passed by a woman. If I get dropped by her and can’t stay with her, it doesn’t look good. I decided to keep up with her and stay half a wheel behind her in just the right spot. It says a lot about Cory’s personality, that’s she feisty and playful.”
She said: “For us, bicycling is not only related to fitness, speed and performance, but also the sustainable living aspect of it. We play on bikes and we express our political principles by bike commuting.”
He said: “Cycling is a great activity for us to do together. It keeps us healthy, we exercise together and it’s our social group. Nearly all our vacations are bike vacations — Maui, Italy, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo. It keeps us unified. Our views are aligned: We are committed to a green lifestyle.”
She said: “For our wedding in 2004, we invited our guests to ride from our house in Santa Cruz to Aptos. We had like 40 friends ride out with us. Some were dressed in Lycra, others in a suit and tie and dresses. Some had bike trailers with their kids. It was inspiring to share our passion with our community and be supported that way. … It made my heart go pitter-patter.”
He said: “Cory didn’t want to walk down the aisle; she wanted to ride down the aisle. It was such a fun and fitting way to get to Aptos by bikes. Biking is how we got together. It would be inauthentic to do anything else.”
For their honeymoon, the Calettis traveled to Italy to ride the classic Italian mountain routes. John built Cory a folding bike for the occasion. Now married a decade, Cory, 46, and John, 41, lead a bicycle-centric life. As a senior transportation planner at the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission, Cory works on many bicycle-related projects. John’s bike-frame-building business, Caletti Cycles, launched nine years ago and is expanding to a sprawling space in the new Westside Delaware Addition.
How They Met
She said: “When Rick joined our group, I realized that he was a strong and driven rider, which is right up my alley. The turning point for me was when Rick suggested some great century rides I have not done in order to train for my upcoming Ironman. We did a century ride from Berkley to Davis, and I really started to like this guy. When I took him up Sand Point at Nisene Marks for a night ride, he told me how much he liked me and that’s when I knew we were on the same page.”
He said: “When I moved to Santa Cruz, I would ride sometimes with the Saturday morning ride that leaves from the Crow’s Nest. Sometimes I would fall off the back at some point and end up riding alone. On one of these occasions, I met this guy named Kenny who said he had fallen off the back of a group he was riding with. He invited me to join his group. He mentioned that I would have to leave my ego at home as the strongest riders in the group were the ladies and that I would probably not be able to keep up. For me, the turning point was when Sylvie challenged me on a flat sprint toward the end of a ride and we were very evenly matched for speed and strength. That got my attention.”
She said: “Rick and I are athletes and have shared this bond from the beginning. We both (were) semi-professional athletes when we were very young. I (did) many different sports before I decided to become a triathlete 10 years ago. Rick used to be a boxer and enjoyed running before he committed to becoming a cyclist. He actually finished two triathlons last year, so I must have inspired him somehow.
“We have fun pushing ourselves to the limit. Every time we have completed a challenging ride or race, we are both amazed and thankful that we were able to accomplish such a feat. I do go through intense emotions and thoughts during our rides. Sometimes I do unleash some of these emotions on Rick since he is most of the time by my side. He endures until I am over it. He is a sweetheart and makes me laugh.”
He said: “When I met and rode with Sylvie, it was like an instant connection or kindred spirit. We are both lifetime athletes who tend toward the extreme. With Sylvie, I have truly found a soulmate. She can go even further, harder and longer than me. In fact, the longer and harder the ride is, the stronger she gets. With all these long tough rides, most people would have issues at some point. There are times when you have mechanical problems, get lost, health or physical issues, times when you get really cold, or hot, or hungry or tired or riding through rain or wind or bad roads and etc. In these circumstances, it would be very easy to take it out on people around you, but Sylvie and I seem to get along in all these circumstances and our relationship grows even stronger. We don’t just endure but thrive.”
Rick, 52, works in the security/tech industry in Silicon Valley and Sylvie, 50, owns and operates a massage therapy business in Watsonville. Last Saturday, they competed in a 100-mile race called the Mega Monster Enduro and, combining with John Wallace in the four-team coed division, took second place.
Karen Kefauver, www.karenkefauver.com, hopes to share her own “how we met” bicycle romance story by next Valentine’s Day.