Meeting up with a bit of The Rock on a fixie


@Barry Sandland/TIMB - Rider on his Regal fixie in Ottawa Ontario

@Barry Sandland/TIMB – By pure luck, the first person I photographed in Canada was from my home province. We were both a little far from Newfoundland and came across each other in Ottawa, about 1,500 distant from home.

“I am here for work on a three month assignment with the government, so… After, I might go back to Newfoundland, I might stay, if I can get more work.

“I bought it online because I could not find one in a bike shop I wanted. It was just a couple of days ago. I loved the look of them. They are very simple. Price as well was a factor. It was just $375 including tax. It is fixed gear bike but I have it on freewheel now. But I think I will move to a fixie. The fixie is so nice. Simple.

Photographer’s notes: Odd coincidences happen and we all have our tales. And so goes this one. I was in Ottawa, Ontario, and had a day to take images of bikes and their riders. I had walked past a dozen decent images before I fell across this bike.  I sat at a nearby café and waited for the rider to come back, then, as he arrived, I ran across the street to get to him before he rode off. We had the usual chat about it being a nice bike, when did he get it, does it ride well.. and I asked him where he was from.

“St. John’s, Newfoundland”. It is a distant Canadian province, as far east as you can get, about 2,750 kms from where we were standing. He is a Newfie.

Now, I happen to be a Newfie (by heritage, not birth). And I am also from St. John’s, Newfoundland, and would be heading there in just two days time.

So, the obvious question. “Where in St. John’s do you live?”

“Smith Street.”

My house, when I lived in the city, was on Campbell Avenue. We live about 300 metres apart. I likely walked past his home regularly when I was walking from home to university.

And it entertains me that, on my first photo of a biker in Canada, far from my European home, I should be with a Newfie, from my home province, who is, essentially, my neighbour.

Maybe for Newfies this is not so odd. We are a small province, but, because employment is tough, young people are constantly obliged to leaved for the mainland in order to find decent work. We are a migrant and migrating population. The best aspect though is, since we are small, and since we are few, we are instant allies when abroad. Even if only on a street corner, sharing a moment.

No reason to talk about why Newfies are on the mainland looking for work. That is an old story, at best.

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