The 'cycle' of life: Regina man reunites with treasured bike almost 30 years later
Peter Lavalley never thought he'd see the orange 10-speed bike he loaned out in the early 1990s again
Peter Lavalley's much-loved bright orange bike has been around — across Canada, all around his hometown of Regina, and then to Calgary.
And it's now completed a decades-long round trip back to Lavalley.
That journey starts back in 1980. Lavalley had just returned from over a year of hitchhiking around the world.
For most people, that would be a big enough task.
But not for Lavalley.
He decided, upon arriving home, that he would cycle across Canada.
"I didn't have any commitments," he said in a recent phone interview with CBC. "Certainly I wondered if I could do it."
He started his journey in Calgary and cycled to Toronto on his brand new 10-speed BRC Semi-Pro touring bicycle. Lavalley took special pride in its distinctive orange colour and the small customizations he made along the way — from lighter pedals to repositioned shifters.
Successful in his ambitious goal to travel across the country, he settled in Regina, where he made many memories with the 10-speed, including one particularly frightening moment when he was cut off by a car in front of the Lawson Aquatic Centre.
"In an angry, instinctive moment I made that rude finger gesture to the back of the offending vehicle," he wrote in a short personal essay he penned about the bike.
The driver stopped the car, leaped out and began walking toward him with a baseball bat.
"I held my bicycle between us as he swung his bat closer and closer to my head," he wrote.
To his relief, a passerby prevented him from being assaulted.
By the early 1990s, Lavalley was rarely using the bike — opting instead for his car.
When a friend moved to Calgary in 1992, Lavalley loaned him the bike. He never heard about it after that.
"I recognized he was under a lot of stress in making the move," he said. "So I didn't pursue the matter of my bicycle."
Social media scrolling leads to reunion
Years passed, but Lavalley never forgot about his special orange bike.
"If one can grieve the loss of connection to an object, that's exactly what I did," he wrote in his personal essay. "From time to time, I would wonder what had become of my orange bicycle. Had it been stolen? Was it rusting in a landfill?"
In August, Lavalley was on Facebook Marketplace looking for a bike for his daughter.
"All of a sudden this distinctly familiar colour caught my eye," he said.
It was his long-lost bike. He contacted the owner and made his way over to see it for himself. It was still in very good condition — having been in the man's garage nearly untouched for 15 years.
Although the bike wasn't the perfect fit for his daughter, Lavalley says he'll make good use of it.
He's just happy to have it back.
"When people reconnect with things that represent an important part of their past, it's really a wonderful experience."