Meet Rod - Escaping Grizzly Bears One Bike Tour At A Time

November 19, 2014


Meet The Cyclist Series  

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

One of the best parts about running Road Holland is all the new friends we have made along the way. Richard and I are quite confident that we can now go to almost any city in the country (and many around the world), make a few phone calls, and quickly gather up a group of people to ride with, or at least to have a beer with us.
One of these friends is Rod Bruckdorfer from Baltimore, Maryland. Although he had placed several orders with us before hand, we first met Rod in person at this year’s North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Charlotte, NC. From our communication and what he had ordered, I knew I liked him. Yet, I liked him even more when I saw the camera around his neck (an amazing Sony A7) and realized he was a serious photographer.
We met up with Rod again a couple of weeks ago at the Philly Bike Expo and got to know him even more. I asked him to share a “riding” story and a few of his pics – many of which do not even include a bike but nevertheless make me want to get out there and ride. Enjoy.

The first picture of me is from 1984 and was taken at Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada. This was one of two days I rode with a cyclist named Ben who was very experienced at touring.

I vividly remember the climb to Lake Louise from Canada 1A Bow Valley Parkway. We left Banff and followed Bow Valley Parkway which becomes Lake Louise Drive at the town of Lake Louise. The first part of the climb was just a normal climb. Then we turned onto the road leading to the lake.

I was riding a 24T chain ring x 34T cog combination. About 50 yards from Lake Louise, the road pitched up. With 55 lb. of equipment on the bike, I was out of the saddle and hoping my hamstrings would not shred. I think the distance from Banff to Lake Louise was about 45 miles.

Ben and I took the necessary photographs then parted. He was headed toward Jasper, Alberta and I toward Golden, British Columbia. Instead of riding back to 1A then climbing Kicking Horse Pass on Trans Canada 1, I took a back road and hoped I would not end up as lunch for a grizzly bear. The road led mostly downhill and I was the only soul on it for miles and miles.

When you ride in this type of country, you must have the necessary tools and supplies to make bike repairs. I even carried an extra tire. Finding a 1 1/4" X 27" tire was probably impossible. I never looked for a bike shop but I suspect Banff may have had one but that was it.

The bike was a Nishike touring bike. I purchase the frame and fork from Bike Nashbar for $175 and using as many components from my existing road bike as possible, I cobbled together a beautiful touring machine. Unfortunately, I crashed the bike in Houston some years later. I would still be riding it today if that were not the case.

You may ask, "How can anyone remember the details of such a trip?" It's impossible to forget such a tour. Today, I would question the sanity of it but you do different things when you are younger. Today, I would ride "a smell the roses" pace and walk a few of the climbs and take more pictures. Back then, the motivation for averaging 68 miles a day was my 2-week vacation limit, my fear of grizzly bears, and the need to get to the camp grounds which were few and far between. The bears didn’t get to me physically but they sure did get to me mentally. Upon checking in at one place, a visitor center employee informed me I was their guest. She said, "Guest.” I heard “lunch" and nearly rode away as fast as I could.

That’s the road for you.

Rod Bruckdorfer

3 Responses

Beth Leasure-Hudson
Beth Leasure-Hudson

November 23, 2014

Had the pleasure of meeting Rod at the Grand Fondue – a touring ride in Middletown Valley, Maryland. He makes an impression and dresses the part of bicycle aficionado quite well. It’s inspiring!


November 21, 2014

Loved the story and photos. I Rode Banff to Jasper with a tour group in 1987, it was one of the best weeks of my life. I rode a 1982 Univega “Gran Tourismo”, and I still have it. Family members wanted me to get rid of it. The bicycle, I christened “Excelsior”, after the mighty steed ridden by Don Quixote, is still with me.

Tim Potter
Tim Potter

November 20, 2014

Great story and photos! Really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Do something epic with it

Then share your experience with us

Receive Updates,exclusive deals & news »