Bob Fraser, Bass Trombone

Bob Fraser, Bass Trombone

Photo by Michael Byrne

Ride distance one-way to the Royal Theatre: According to Google Maps, it’s 1.5 km. I’m one of the lucky ones; my ride takes 6 minutes. Even if you drove the same distance, you would not get there as fast, because of parking!

Frequency: Pretty much all the time; rain or shine. I have not owned a car for more than ten years. I have biked to UVic once or twice, but it’s 6.4 km and there’s that unavoidable hill on Foul Bay Rd, or the death speedway known as Shelbourne St. The trombone in its case weighs about 5 or 6 kg so my shoulders get a bit tired.

Anything notable/interesting about your route?

The colonnade of cherry blossoms down Yates St is always beautiful in early February (sorry bikers in The Rest of Canada!)

Cherry blossoms along Bob’s bike route

Any biking stories to share?

Once I was running late and had to give the pre-concert lecture, so after locking up on Broughton I went straight into the lobby of the Royal in full rain gear and started right in on my pre-concert talk, all the while stripping off layers to reveal my formal wear underneath (à la James Bond). The audience was highly amused.

What do you enjoy about biking to work?

Two words: FREE PARKING.

Any challenges?

My ride is pretty short, but I worry constantly about possible injuries to myself. I wear a bike helmet designed for off-road biking and competitive BMX-style stunts – it protects my mouth and jaw really well. You can see from Mike’s photo that it’s pretty scary. To be honest, it’s a bit too cumbersome, but then again, losing my teeth is not an option.

Do you bike for recreation as well, or just for transportation?

I don’t bike for recreation as much as I would like. As I mentioned before, I don’t own a car – not because I’m trying to be environmentally conscious; the truth is I cannot afford both a house and a car. I do enjoy opportunities to do some recreational biking on my errands; for example, if I need to go somewhere where I can take advantage of the Galloping Goose Trail or some other scenic route.

Anything else you want to say on the topic?

I used to take my car for granted; not having one for over ten years has been quite eye-opening. You really get a full sense of how all our urban infrastructure is predicated on everyone owning a car or even multiple cars. Because of its geography, Victoria could be a example to the entire world of a city that uses multiple modes of transportation very well. I have this fantasy of a new performing arts centre in Victoria that’s serviced by multiple bus routes, has easy access for pedestrians and cyclists, and is easier to get to for our older concert patrons, who may rely on handi-transit or special buses.

1 Comment

  1. Nancy Lane Macgregor November 27, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Hi Bob, I heard your talk today at the Symphony and I am very keen about attending the talks you give at the library. I didn’t get your e-mail so I’m trying this route. It was a great event, one I attend not too often, and hope to more in the future. Thanks for the talk. Nancy Macgregor

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