As a young adult, Ron Lessard moved to Princeton, NJ to study the art of casting sculpture in bronze at an area foundry. He immediately fell in love with the area for its tree-shaded lanes, historic charm and natural beauty. He came to town in a car but for more than two decades he has been enjoying life in Princeton by bike.
Most every Super Commuter can identify a moment that propelled him/her to pedal. Ron’s came in the midst of the early 1990s recession. To make ends meet, he was forced to sell his work truck and started biking to work. Business eventually rebounded and he bought a new work truck but ever since the George H.W. Bush administration he’s been racking up over 5,000 miles of riding a year.
His Ridley X-Fire carries him on his eleven mile commute from Princeton to his Trenton workshop. Many days Ron takes the long cut to avoid congestion and to fuel his riding passion. “I regret those days in which I take my truck to work,” says Ron, “I would rather spend my commute feeling the rush from pedaling through the thick air of a hot and humid Jersey summer or cutting through the icy air on a winter morning at zero degrees.”
Ron is an advocate for Complete Streets policies to make Mercer County streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians. His hope is that better cycling facilities will make his fellow citizens less reliant on cars and the harmful consequences of tailpipe emissions. A little known fact about Ron is that he is an inventor who holds an interesting patent. It seems like he is trying to rid the world of the dangers of tailpipe emissions in more ways than one.
Aside from using his bicycle for transportation, Ron adores the many weekends and summer evenings he gets to adventure by bike with his wife Mary on their Co-Motion Tandem.
“We ride together on weekends, and often summer evenings, on a Co-motion tandem. A tandem is far faster than a single bike on the flats. There is less wind resistance. Those that haven’t tried this, don’t know the exhilaration that comes from speeding down a straightaway, and packing in the miles together with someone you love. It is a bonding experience to successfully ride a five-hour century, sharing the exhilaration that comes from the speed on a bike with someone so close. It strengthens a relationship. At the end of long ride, we celebrate our accomplishment in unison for we have both contributed, and it seems the harder we work together, the greater the reward. How much closer can a couple get than that?”
“At this point, even though most of my miles are on my single bikes commuting, I would rather ride the tandem with Mary. Since she also works part time with me, we sometimes get to ride the tandem to work, a real treat for me, and something I wish we could do more of. Regardless, we have developed a riding relationship in which we are so sensitive to each other needs, we don’t need to speak to communicate. We can sense how the other is feeling through the bike. It’s as though the frame that holds us as one, has become a metaphor for our love. Mary knows when I’m about to stand, and quietly, simultaneously, rises with the first pedal stroke. I can easily sense for both of us, when it’s time to push, and when its time to coast. We’ve developed this closeness over the years, on the bike, and in our marriage. We have nurtured a trust as deep as the oceans, a notion as key to riding a tandem as it is to a happy marriage. We even wear matching outfits on the tandem, a cliche on wheels (but an advantage when lost in a crowd). I smile, and thank goodness for my lucky stars. It may sound corny, and it is, but it’s all true.”