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Jim Davies is hoping to participate in Sunday’s Valley First Granfondo Axel Merckx in Penticton.
Hardly an achievement for someone who rides his bike up to 12,000 kilometres a year, and represented Canada at the 1954 British Empire Games in Vancouver and the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.
But eight months ago Davies was wondering if he’d ever ride a bike again.
That’s when a road-raging motorist left him at the side of the road, along a popular cycling route in Steveston, his pelvis shattered.
The injury, he says, was “about as bad as it could be.”
Two surgeries to rebuild his pelvis with three plates and nine screws and then replace his hip put his body back together.
His spirit was another matter.
“I thought it was the end of my cycling career,” says Davies, 78, who started racing bikes in Stanley Park when he was 14 years old and won the first race ever held at the China Creek track in Vancouver.
Even after he stopped racing, Davies was never far from bikes. In 1974 he and a partner bought Jubilee Cycle on Imperial Street.
Though he turned the shop over to his son Neil more than 12 years ago, he’s still involved as a co-owner. And he still rides almost every day.
Until his fateful accident last October, while on a leisurely ride with his other son, Gary.
Davies says like most cyclists, he’s had plenty of close calls and near misses in his years riding around Metro Vancouver.
But as cycling has become increasingly popular he says the awareness of cyclists on the road by motorists has actually improved in recent years.
That’s why he never expected to be on the blunt end of a motorist’s anger on a road usually busy with cyclists on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
Though police attended the scene, the driver was never charged.
“I was really down,” says Davies of his long recovery that included six months on crutches. “I couldn’t even walk, let alone think about cycling.”
But as he endured months of grueling physiotherapy, riding his bike again was never far from his mind. It’s what kept him going.
On April 1, he finally got back on the bike. The six-month layoff was the longest he’d endured in 64 years.
“It was scary,” says Davies of that first ride. “It was nerve wracking to get into traffic again.”
While he still has trouble walking, Davies is again a familiar sight riding through Burnaby, New Westminster and along River Road out to Richmond. He says he sticks to flat routes because hills still give his rebuilt hip trouble.
And he’s a little more wary about road riding’s unexpected dangers.
“I never really thought that could happen,” says Davies. “It can happen to anybody.”