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Hola, Amigos! Has it seriously been 6 years??

I can hardly believe that 6 years has gone by since I last made a habit of regularly writing on this blog.

Although I put the pen down to focus on other priorities in life, I have still been using my bike as my primary mode of transportation (when I am not run commuting to work).

A lot has changed since 2014.

My daughter is turning 9 years old and my dog Mojie turns 18 this year.

After an amazing 6 years, and after being stolen and recovered twice, my Babboe Dutch cargo bike was stolen a third and final time in February 2018. My insurance company helped me purchase an identical Babboe a few months later from Curbside Cycle.

Since 2017, I have been heavily into mountain ultramarathon running; having competed in about a dozen ultramarathon races ranging from 50km to 125km long.

In June 2018, at mile 70 of a 100-mile race in California, I experienced a freak health incident that resulted in spending 41 days in two hospitals while being tube fed for 30+ days and losing about 30 pounds in just a few days after the surgery. 

In a very brief moment, I went from being a healthy runner to being hooked up to tubes with a Christmass-tree-size IV rack that seemed to astonish even the nurses at the hospital.

Life can change in an instant.

James competing in the 2018 100 Mile Western States Endurance Run
James in the hospital a few days after esophageal surgery (2018)

Two doctors who were volunteering at the race and whom helped save my life wrote a paper on the incident and were subsequently published in the British Medical Journal.

This incident very much put life into perspective, and I am thankful for so many of the little things now that I often took for granted before.

Shortly after being released from the hospital, I figured life is too short not to pursue your passions, so I fulfilled one of my goals in life: My partner Roxanna and I opened a side-hustle business; a boutique shop selling high quality running/hiking/camping gear to a community that I care very deeply about.

Along with my two business partners, we have grown our consulting firm from 4 people in 2011 to over 70 employees in 2020.

In 2019, we took our whole company to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for our annual company retreat for an epic week.

With respect to urban bicycling, it has actually become comfortable to ride in Toronto, with curb-protected cycle tracks popping up on major streets all across the city. Bicycle transportation is finally being taken seriously here.

In late June 2020, just two days before my 40th birthday, I am planning to cross the finish line at the Western States Endurance Run, to finish what I started in 2018.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done”

Nelson Mandela

Here are some bicycle-related photos from the past year:

My Dutch commuter bike at the Bursting Silver office
Sofia’s favourite way to get around Toronto
Mojie’s favourite way to get around Toronto
Roxanna and Mojie
The winter commute to the office along the Martin Goodman bike path

James D. Schwartz is the Editor of The Urban Country and is based in Toronto, Canada. You can contact James at or follow him on Twitter.