Wheels to ride

Christopher Rickards collects custom bicycles the way someone might collect fine wine.

Christopher Rickards shows two of his favourite bicycles.

Christopher Rickards shows two of his favourite bicycles.

Christopher Rickards collects custom bicycles the way someone might collect fine wine.

But far from keeping his high-end bikes stored away he uses them regularly, on roads, trails and riding down mountains.

He rides hundreds of kilometres a week, fitting rides in during the morning, sometimes at lunch and in the evening. On a nice Saturday and a Sunday, when he has the chance, he’ll ride 150 to 200 km each day.

Rickards is a lawyer, doing civil litigation with the Red Deer law firm Johnston Ming Manning, and biking gives him the time he needs to think.

One of his prized finds was a bicycle ridden by famous multiple Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong in 1999, the first year he came back after having cancer.

It is number 650 — out of 1,999 made — and it is just one of two bicycles that Armstrong rode in Canada, with the other resting on display at United Cycle in Edmonton.

Although it is a piece of history and highly regarded by Rickards, he even takes that bike out for a spin around Red Deer every once in a while.

Like his inspiration Lance Armstrong, Rickards does what he can to help out and jumps at the chance to take part in many charitable rides around Central Alberta.

Near the end of the month on Aug. 28 he will do the Berry Architecture Wellness Ride in support of the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Central Alberta Brain Injury Society.

The event offers a 25K, 50k and a 100K ride, with Rickards picking the longer route. Compared to his normal Saturday rides 100K is nothing for him. The ride goes from Red Deer to Delburne to Penhold and back into Red Deer.

He plans to use either the Lance Armstrong bike or the Delta 7 Ascend that he owns for the ride, or in case of rain will use his Trek 2100 road bike.

Last year, the Wellness Ride drew more than 20 people who raised $7,200 — which was boosted to $14,400 through a provincial grant program that matches community donations.

“It’s a very nice ride, very well supported, with a very good course,” Rickards said. He enjoys riding with other people and having the chance to do something he loves for a good cause.

Rickards, 47, got into biking in the 1990s, when everyone was buying mountain bikes and the sport was growing in popularity.

By the time he had purchased four custom bikes his wife Donna Purcell made him sign a contract as a joke stating he would buy no more.

The contract has since been revoked after she saw how much he loves his bikes and now years later he has added more than 10 to that total.

Among the makes of bike he has are top of the line models of brands that include Rocky Mountain, Trek, Specialized, Intense, Santa Cruz, Ellsworth, Turner, GT, Canondale and Proflex, as well as an Arantix and an Ascend, made in Utah by Delta Seven.

The majority of the bikes he has are cross country bikes, with some off road, as well as road bikes and downhill bikes.

His cheapest bike — which he describes as his “rain bike” — costs in the vicinity of $2,000, with some of the top-end bikes costing anywhere from $7,000 to $16,000.

“They are things I ride. They are not just things I collect,” Rickards said.

“I would ride all of those bikes within the space of a week.”

He treats his bikes a little like children, loving them all and with no plans to ever get ride of any of them.

Rickards said the things he enjoys doing the most in life are spending time with his family — wife Donna and daughters Helena, 10, and Vanessa, 7 — and riding his bicycles.

For more information on the Berry Architecture Wellness Ride contact Jane at 403-342-2266 or by e-mail at jferguson@reddeer.cmha.ab.ca.

sobrien@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Alberta vaccine rollout expanding to front-line health-care workers

More than 240,000 eligible health-care workers can begin booking vaccine appointments starting… Continue reading

File photo
The Red Deer Rebels will have three new assistant coaches when the WHL regular season starts on Friday. Brad Flynn (left), will be on the bench alongside fellow assistant Ryan Colville (right) head coach Brent Sutter (middle). (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Sutter steps down as Red Deer Rebels head coach

Red Deer Rebels Owner, GM and head coach Brent Sutter has stepped… Continue reading

Premier Jason Kenney announced $200 million more money that will benefit seniors living in continuing care on Wednesday. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s in-school rapid screening test program expanding

Alberta’s in-school rapid screening test program will expand to as many as… Continue reading

Parents and students learned Tuesday what the coming school year will look like. It's pretty much back to business as usual, said Education Minister Adriana LaGrange. School precautions include frequent cleaning, keeping students in the same groups where possible, planning the school day to allow for physical distancing and staying home when sick. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s largest school board says no to United Conservative draft school curriculum

CALGARY — Alberta’s largest school board says it will not use the… Continue reading

Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan is among those who have signed an open letter criticizing the government’s return to stricter health measures. (Advocate file photo).
Updated: Kenney tells UCP caucus COVID-19 dissent OK, breaking health rules means expulsion

15 MLAs released letter on Wednesday critical of new health restrictions

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watches a speaker appear by videoconference during a news conference in Ottawa, Friday, April 9, 2021. Grassroots Liberals have overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution calling on the federal government to develop and implement a universal basic income — despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's apparent lack of enthusiasm for the idea. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau winds up Liberal convention with election campaign-style speech

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau wound up a three-day Liberal convention Saturday with… Continue reading

Team Canada skip Brendan Bottcher makes a shot against Italy at the Men's World Curling Championships in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, April 6, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Men’s world curling championship in Calgary in COVID limbo

CALGARY — The men’s world curling championship in Calgary remained suspended Saturday… Continue reading

Pipes intended for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline are shown in Gascoyne, N.D. on Wednesday April 22, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta
Non-profit Quebec law centre to aid environmental group targeted by Alberta oil firm

QUEBEC — The Quebec Environmental Law Centre is coming to the aid… Continue reading

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservatives cite empathy, relationships as ways to help expand their movement

OTTAWA — Conservatives should show empathy with Black residents who say they’ve… Continue reading

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. New Democrats are reconvening for the second day of a three-day policy convention as they look to push past the glitches of the virtual event's opening sessions and rally around keynote speaker John Horgan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
New Democrats reconvene as hiccups, frustrations plague national policy convention

OTTAWA — New Democrats reconvened Saturday for the second day of a… Continue reading

FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 23, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a joint statement with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Former President Donald Trump plans to affirm his commitment to the Republican Party — and raise the possibility that someone else will be the GOP's next presidential nominee — in a closed-door speech to donors Saturday night, April 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
Trump in 2024? He says only that ‘a Republican’ will win

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Former President Donald Trump plans to affirm his… Continue reading

A cruise ship sits docked waiting for passengers to be evacuated in Kingstown, on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent, Friday, April 9, 2021 due to the eruption of La Soufriere volcano. (AP Photo/Orvil Samuel)
Ash-covered St. Vincent braces for more volcanic eruptions

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — People who ignored an initial warning to evacuate… Continue reading

Owner of 4 Point Taekwondo Kevin Mejia holds a board as organizer and martial artist Kevin Olsen breaks it in Edmonton on Friday, April 9, 2021. One hundred martial artists from around the world, will be breaking a board for an event called "Break for a Breakthrough." The idea is for martial artists to unite and re-engage with the arts because they may have drifted away or lost enthusiasm as a result of the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Break for a Breakthrough: Canadian hosts international martial arts demonstration

EDMONTON — Whether he’s breaking a wooden board, a clay tile, cement… Continue reading

Most Read