I’m sure it’s no secret to residents of Mission, but as visitors we just learned about an incredible shop with an incredible owner behind it.
I was with a group of friends over the May long weekend – six ambitious women who are riding their bikes across Canada. I and some of their family members were driving alongside for the first couple days as they departed Victoria and headed east.
Day two was planned as a relatively flat 100 kilometres from Whonnock to Hope, when shortly past Mission, Kelly’s bike chain broke. We quickly scooped up her and her gear, along with another biker, off the side of the Lougheed Highway. On a holiday Monday we had little hope that a bike shop would be open and had started making plans to delay the journey by a day. But a chance Google search put us on the line with Wenting’s Cycle and Mountain Shop in Mission.
Bruce Wenting answered the phone and told us to see him right away.
Waiting outside the North Railway Avenue store-front, the broken chain took all of 10 minutes to fix. But the cycle guru wasn’t done. As it turns out, we’d struck the unlikely fortune of crossing paths with a bike mechanic of the Canadian national team.
He asked Kelly to sit on her bike and inquired about her comfort riding so far.
An hour and a half later, her bike was transformed. Settings changed, angles altered, disassembled and reassembled. It was a completely different piece of machinery. He then took the next bike and made one or two alterations there. Both riders were very grateful for the improvements.
But the other four in the group had already ridden ahead en route to Hope. Not a problem, said Bruce. He was headed there that night to hear Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes give a presentation. She too is riding her bike across Canada, raising awareness about mental health issues.
Just hours later, with tool kit in tow, Bruce met the team in Hope and had examined and altered four more bikes. On a holiday Monday. At 9 p.m. Out of town.
The team is now well on its way to reaching the goal of St. John’s for Aug. 18. They’ll have countless stories by the time they’re done. But I doubt they’ll forget about the kindness, generosity and cycling passion they found in Mission, B.C.