Swift Family Robinson

It didn't happen overnight, but the Boulangers are a 100 percent bike-friendly family.

My son Henri was born November 20, 1994, and it was my wife’s generosity that allowed me to participate in a rather memorable wet and cold Thanksgiving Day group ride two days later when we lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Our daughter Sam came into this world May 25, 1993, after 19 hours of labor. Henri arrived after 19 minutes, and both kids were born with a Third Hand tool and a 15mm pedal wrench in each hand.

Henri is officially a teenager today, which prompted this blog. I often take for granted that the Boulanger household is 100 percent bicycle friendly. My wife and kids aren’t into bikes because I am; it was a slow, natural progression that snared them, starting in our home state of Wisconsin. The virus stayed dormant within them to Ohio, where it festered and took over their souls when we opened Cycles Gaansari in Dayton in January 2003. They were exposed to the rigors of retail, and experienced the joys of two-wheeled fellowship through conversation, night rides, dinner-table discussion, bike-to-work day breakfasts, and regular customer interaction. It was truly a family affair.

They were, after all, responsible for naming the company in 2002, and were the SA and RI (the little nippers, just 8 and 7 at the time, came up with the name Gaansari by taking the first and last two letters of our four first names: GAry, jeAN, SAm, henRI). They were fully vested in the adult world of bicycles, and still in the single digits.

Their true abilities and dedication to the bicycle began this past August, when school started. Sam is a ninth grader at Mountain View High School, and rolls out of our driveway for her 1.5-mile spin every morning at 6:45, her backpack full of French, world history and other assorted text books (and soccer gear). Henri follows suit an hour later, astride his Brompton T6, although his commute to Blach Intermediate School is a mere four blocks.

Then it’s their mother’s turn. After making chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, and shepherding the kids while I’m IMing with the BikeRadar lads in Bath, she packs up her MacBook and gear into a Timbuk2 backpack and pedals her Gaansari Scorcher road fixie about 2.2 miles to Red Rock Coffee in downtown Mountain View.

Meanwhile, our 1996 Subaru Legacy wagon sits dormant in our driveway, 139,694 miles on the odometer, parked on the other side of a garage door that leads to my workshop, where I conduct my mad scientific experiments as US editor for BikeRadar.

Happy birthday, Henri. It’s great to have you in our bike-crazy family. I hope you can pass on the legacy some day.


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