To say cycling was a passion for Bert Buchanan would be an understatement.
Nearly right up to his death at 91 in the fall of 2011, he rode regularly from home to the Victoria YM-YWCA, where he would climb on a stationary bike for an even more strenuous workout.
Herbert Ewart Buchanan was instrumental in getting cycling into people’s consciousness in the 1950s after arriving in the city, through initiating riding groups and organizing cycling trips.
In his later years he cycled competitively in the B.C. Seniors Games, winning medals frequently.
“He was one of those guys who was just here all the time,” recalls the Y’s general manager, Mark Dodd, a longtime employee.
“Even in his late 80s, he would ride his bike here, then take a spin class, have a coffee with the guys and ride his bike home.”
Given the amount of time he spent in the Broughton Street facility and the contributions he made over the years, the board of the YM-YWCA wanted to honour him somehow at the gym.
A perfect opportunity to do so came after it was learned that Buchanan had left a sum of money to the Y in his will.
Nearing 10 years old and at the end of their useful life, the club’s stationary bikes needed replacement, Dodd said.
Not only were 21 new bikes purchased at a cost of around $2,000 each, he says, the room itself was renovated, with proper air conditioning and a new sound system installed.
“It’s obviously wonderful when we get a bequest like this, especially from somebody like Bert, who was so involved with the Y for such a long period of time,” says YM-YWCA CEO Jennie Edgecombe.
The bequest was not designated, she says, but the Y wanted to recognize Buchanan and the spin room refurbishment seemed the perfect opportunity to put the money to good use.
A ceremony to unveil the new stationary bikes and spin class room was held Monday morning. The Y has installed a plaque in memory of Buchanan, and renamed the space Bert’s Bike Room.
They invite the public to come down and check it out and perhaps go for a spin.