I’m so excited to share with you a conversation I had with a great friend of mine, Dominique Claybo. Dominique, 23, recently finished her undergrad at the University of Toronto and is taking a well deserved break from real life on her bike. She’s a music junkie, enjoys the outdoors, and is always open to a coffee date or two. She’s been on a cycling journey of a lifetime for a little over a month now. She flew out with her bike boxed up all the way from Toronto to Vancouver to start her epic journey across Canada, and I jumped at the chance to share a snippet of her journey with you.

Hey Dom, can you share with us how you got into cycling?

My dad was always a huge cycling enthusiast – so it was probably through him. I was really into mountain biking when I was younger, which I actually just started to get back into last year. More recently, I found myself really getting into road cycling. It’s become a great way to explore the outdoors and do so with the good company of some of my friends.

Tell us about the coolest ride you’ve had so far on your adventure.

I don’t think I could possibly narrow it down to one ride. The whole journey has been incredible.

There was one day we were cycling on a old railway trail through vineyards in the Okanagan. The ride from Crawford Bay to Creston, British Columbia took place beside a lake with mountains in the background the entire day. Creston to Cranbrook was our longest day so far, but approaching the Rockies with the immense Fisher Peak in view was honestly so breathtaking.

The coolest part is seeing the changing landscapes develop gradually in front of you. Tall coastal trees to lush green pastures to the desert to vineyards to the mountains… It’s a humbling experience. Touring on a bicycle is such an incredible way to explore. Places seem to just fly by when you drive, but you really get to internalize your surroundings on a bike.

I know it isn’t a touring bike, but would you consider riding the Valour for parts of your crazy adventure?

The Valour definitely has some features that would be mighty useful on this trip.

I have a mirror on my bike, but it’s not like I’m looking at it every second of the ride – and riding on the highway… Some vehicles seem to come out of nowhere! Imagine a 16-wheeler flying by with maybe only 2 feet separating you. It can be a rattling experience. I can imagine the blind spot detector would at least minimize that surprise.

The vibrating handlebars would be really useful too for instances where another cyclist could be approaching from behind. Sometimes you don’t see the cyclist right away and you could be taking up the shoulder – knowing that someone is approaching would you know not to make any quick movements on whichever side they’re approaching from, minimizing the risk of a crash.

I also love the built in GPS! I’ve been using my phone throughout the trip, but it’s just another distraction. It’s cool that the App compatible with the Valour would start and stop tracking my ride automatically so that I don’t have to worry about the metrics of my ride not being accurate.

It would definitely simplify the ride if I had these magical handlebars directing me! I would really love to see these features incorporated into different style handlebars, ex. drop bars. The different riding positions is essential when doing long distance touring. But for commuting and inner-city riding, the Valour seems to offer some cool features that makes riding more safe and accessible for all levels of riders.

Written by Hanna