France; The land of winemaking is where it all began for me. Arriving in Charles De Gaulle airport I reassembled my bicycle and arranged my side saddles. I had spent the months previous training; biking back and forth from my residence in Toronto to my parent’s home and place of birth in the foothills of the Hamilton mountain.
I learned it was essential to bike “balanced” - with the weight of my packs strategically positioned on the bike- anything out of kilter, out of the centres of gravity and the bike is difficult to control.
I mention this as I remember for a departing gift leaving Pearson airport my mother gave me a large chunk of Christmas cake (my mother is from Newfoundland) thinking to sustain me for the next 12 months.
Peddling away from the airport with the added tonnage on my front handle bars I wove my way across the eight lane highway. Deciding safety first, I hid the Christmas cake in a small wooded area vowing one day to return for it (My mother’s Christmas cake has an extremely long shelf life) and headed east. I still remember where it is.
Biking across France stopping every so often for the smallest cups of coffee I had ever seen. The coffee came with cute little spoons reminiscent of having afternoon tea with my older sister, her tea set and her dolls. I would use the little spoons to heap in the sugar changing the coffee to a syrup and then peddling on, rejuvenated. Little did I know that the start of this bike trip would bring me to a point where I stumbled upon working a winery to gain some money. That need for work turned into a passion and a career in winemaking.