Steve Pilcher

Steve Pilcher

Engineers pushing limits of pedal power

NANAIMO – Inuktun employees pull out vintage cruisers, long haul tourers and a unicycle for Bike to Work Week.

Trust guys with a passion for engineering to push the limits.

For Bike to Work Week in Nanaimo (May 26 to June 1), employees at Inuktun Services are in it for the long haul –the long haul being a matter of perspective depending on what you’re pedalling.

Steve Pilcher, an engineering technician who builds Inuktun prototypes, is pumping up the tire on his unicycle for his Friday commute.

Pilcher, an avid cyclist, on- and off-road, required about one month to master the unicycle and has been riding one since 2008. His commute to work is about 10 kilometres each way – no big deal on a bike, but practically a marathon on a 24-inch wheel, off-road, knobby-tired unicycle with no brakes that must be constantly pedalled to stay upright and keep moving forward at a top speed of around five kilometres per hour.

But that won’t be Pilcher’s only ride to work. He’ll start the week riding his 1959 Viscount, three-speed cruiser bike, built by the Hercules Cycle and Motor Company, that he completely restored.

“It was all rusted in the dump and I sandblasted it all and cleaned all the chrome up and got it working again,” Pilcher said. “I figure I’ll start out riding that Monday, the unicycle Friday and my other bikes during the week.”

Craig Senych, vice president of operations, has dusted off his Trek 520 touring bike for a one-day, one-way commute from his home in Maple Bay.

Senych, 53, estimates it will take him three and a half to four hours to make the 70-km commute.

“When I was younger I used to ride a lot, but now I’m just a fat, cranky old man,” Senych said. “I still think I can do it, but just not as fast as I used to.”

Senych is used to long rides from when he and his wife lived in Alberta and would cycle between Banff and Jasper, but Senych is carefully planning his route. Once in Nanaimo he’ll likely stick with the steady grade of the Nanaimo Parkway rather than take the Parkway Trail with all its climbs, dips and weaves.

“By that time I’ll be tired,” Senych said.

Senych also knows a commute like that is not sustainable, especially since he will have to leave home at about 4 a.m. to make it to work on time.

“Honestly, I don’t think I’m going to do it more than one half trip,” Senych said. “It’s a logistical issue for me because if I ride both ways I’ll be sleeping the entire next day.”

Just Posted

Nanaimo author B.S. Thompson has released his debut novel, ‘The Book of Nodd.’ (Photo courtesy Nora Funk)
Nanaimo author invites readers into dangerous world of dreams in debut novel

B.S. Thompson unveils ‘The Book of Nodd’ with online launch June 20

Potters Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter present their joint exhibit ‘Dig It’ at Art 10 Gallery until the end of June. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Potters show pieces for home and garden at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter’s show ‘Dig It’ on display until end of June

Construction work continues on the City of Nanaimo’s new Fire Station No. 1 on Fitzwilliam Street. (News Bulletin file)
Next phase of borrowing approved as Nanaimo fire hall construction ongoing

City of Nanaimo CAO says construction on Fitzwilliam Street hall on schedule and budget

Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Tenth Street near Southside Drive on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver OK after crashing vehicle off the side of Nanaimo’s Tenth Street

Crews say wet roads a factor a crash Sunday, June 13

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

Most Read