Trevor Crystal

Trevor Crystal

Age: 44Oshawa, ON

Rider Blog Donate Now

Occupation: General Manager @ Chain Reaction Bicycles

Family: Partner with Janet B and aspiring role model to my son Seth

My biggest physical accomplishment to date: Seth

Destination – Beyond Cancer!

“We ride to give back, to pay it forward. Most importantly, we ride so that cancer will one day be a thing of the past!”

“Trev’s at it again!” Says the sign in the local bike shop. Yes, back for a second, consecutive year of “Sears Naional Kids Cancer Ride”.

Why I’m doing this ride? It’s not that I or my family has been personally touched by childhood cancer. I am a parent, who has been a primary care giver to my son. I have compassion for the pain and suffering of parents, children, and families in times of trouble and illness. I have a passion for cycling. I believe in a cause that gives 100% of public donations to those it is working to serve.

This is my story. “Paying it forward”, “Building community creates a better world.” “Burn fat not fuel” are not just sayings but mottos to live by. Like many people, cycling was a big part of my childhood. Being on my bike was more than a means of transportation and a pastime, it was a passion. As so often happens competing priorities and a less than healthy lifestyle took me away from my bike and into the demands of corporate life and family. After long being dormant, my passion for cycling rekindled in a big way. Following some significant life changes, I pulled out my low end full-suspension mountain bike, and got back on the road. My steed definitely left much to be desired, but I have to credit that boat anchor with getting me on my path of better health and building community.

Almost six years ago, while on a cold winter commute, I happened upon a bike shop and decided to take a look around. I had stopped at other bike shops, but Chain Reaction Bicycles had a bike that reached out and grabbed my attention. I was already well on my way back to a healthier lifestyle, but that bike put me on a fast track. Every opportunity to ride was taken! Having taken a hiatus from the corporate world, I was chatting with one of the owners and asked if he needed any help around the shop. Having no experience in the bike industry at all meant I was starting at the bottom, but I knew that this passion for cycling was here to stay. I was living in Oshawa at the time and thought that I better start acting like a cyclist so me and my new ride started commuting to Etobicoke. At first the trip took over 3 hours, but by the time I stopped making the run it was whittled down to a solid 2 hour ride. It was a great mind vacation from all the day to day stuff going on and it cemented my love for the road on two wheels.

At that time I had started spinning with the creator of C.O.R.E. Cycling, Clair Cafaro. She was such an inspiring instructor! It was there that I also met Ross Rader, a world record holding endurance cyclist. Clair and Ross would often discuss Tour for Kids and the “Sears National Kids Cancer Ride” since Ross was training for the latter and Clair was participated in the Tour. Those discussions planted a seed in me. It opened my eyes to a way that I could not only step up my involvement with the cycling, but give back to the community at the same time. It would be a couple years before I could participate with the “Tour for Kids”. Prior to my first tour I participated in several shorter single day events. My first two charity rides were “Ride for Karen” and “Bike for Betty”.

Both of these rides were very significant to me, but for very different reasons. Just before I embarked upon my first “Ride for Karen” I met a very special lady. Janet and I were early in our courtship and had only been seeing each other for a few weeks. She was a runner, but I did not hold it against her… much. Unbeknownst to me, Janet was waiting for me at the finish line of my first full century ride. Seeing her smiling face as I rode in made the day perfect! It was one of those moments in life that you never forget. Janet has since taken up cycling and we now log a great many kilometres and hours of fundraising together to raise money for kids with cancer.

The second ride, “Bike for Betty” added yet another dimension to my life. Janet and I did this ride with my son Seth in tow on an Adams Trail-a-Bike. Seth already knew that Daddy loved to ride his bike, but since he was only 5 at the time, he did not understand the concept of a “charity ride”. He knew the ride to school, the grocery store and parks. Those rides he understood well. “Bike for Betty” saw the beginning of his understanding. He now knew that charity rides were done with a lot of spirit and with a goal in mind… to help other people.

Since then, we have done other rides together and he has been very patient with my training. He has fun helping us at fundraising events and is really getting the concept of giving back. In particular, he understands that Daddy wants to help other kids that are sick. I am so utterly grateful that cancer has not touched my son directly. Like most other kids he has had his fair share of nasty flus, colds and the scary fevers. I know what it feels like to be helpless when he is sick. I also know that fear pales in comparison to the fight for life undertaken every day by far too many children and their families afflicted with cancer. The Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation has opened my eyes and heart to glimpse that pain. It has also shown me hope. The hope that one day we will reach that “Destination Beyond Cancer”.

A few years ago a charity cycling team began to form through Chain Reaction Bicycles. It has evolved significantly since then and the momentum continues to build for “Team Velocity”. This great group of people has managed to raise close to $700,000 for the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation through “Tour for Kids”. This is definitely no small feat given the economic times in which they have operated. I credit this team with providing much needed support and encouragement to undertake this epic ride. They are a great team of skilled and dedicated riders, who believe in supporting this cause, and I am happy to be part of this team.

Very shortly after completing the ride in 2012, I knew that it would not be the last time. I spoke with Mike Smith and let him know my intentions. As usual, his response was a great big hug. With that embrace began the second chapter of my journey!

“We ride to give back, to pay it forward. Most importantly, we ride so that cancer will one day be a thing of the past!”

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