Darryl Kotyk on Austin, Grenada and road cycling

  • Country : Canada

    Currently riding : Trek Madone 4.5 2009 and Rocky Mountain RC-10 2011
    Topics : Road Cycling,

    Tags: ,

    Bio :

    Darryl Kotyk likes to consider himself a professional beach bum, but likes to do marketing and fitness consulting just for fun. A native of Canada, he began his career as a marketing strategist for companies such as Costco and Van Houtte Coffee and is now focused on working with companies in the cycling industry.

    But his main focus is directed towards his own cycling lifestyle website, www.lovingthebike.com. This site has exploded and branched off into other cycling ventures for Darryl as well…including the Cycling 360 Podcast, #bikeschool, and more.

    His ever changing and evolving life takes another new path this November when Darryl and his Family take off for the Caribbean island of Grenada to open a bicycle cafe. He’s partnering with a local triathlete and the cafe will offer bike tours, rentals, repairs, and accessories in addition to the offerings of the coffee house.

    When not hard at work on his website or developing valuable strategies for his clients, this devoted husband, father of three and avid cyclist can be found on his road bike or conversing with clients and fans on social networks.

    Website : http://lovingthebike.com/bikeschool

    If your on twitter at all you will see these tweet chats which is a weekly 30-60mins chat every Thursday at 9pm EST, where like minded people get together and talk about certain subjects. We were one of the first and we started bike school me and two other guys. It was designed as a place for people who enjoyed cycling to come. It wasn’t a serious thing its not hardcore cycling talk.

    Website : http://cycling360media.com

    Cycling360 is run by a Rob Grissom, Victor Jimenez and myself. One is into cycling coaching and the other is a professional mechanic/bikefitter. It is a nice mix because we all bring different angles of the cycling perspective. It has almost been 2 years for the podcast and its quickly become the top cycling podcast out there, we do mostly talk about road biking and triathlons an lean towards the tips of how to become a better cyclist, we deal with all different things from racing, mechanics of your bike, quick fixes and really every single aspect of riding and become quite popular. We have always ranked in the top 1-3 cycling podcasts on iTunes and just about a month ago we were ranked about 12th in all sports which was fantastic because if you thik of all sporting podcasts out there which includes NFL baseball and football.

    Website : http://lovingthebike.com

    Lovingthebike is almost 3 years old in February 2013. I had kind of been thinking about the idea of starting a blog of doing something at least to transition into more of my own work and there is a book out there called Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk, where I learnt to blog. I am passionate about cycling and so lovingthebike was born.

    I had a few goals for the site and I knew that lovingthebike would be a launching pad for other things. So I started it just for my own enjoyment and see what I could do with it. I have just passed one of the first goals I had and its still growing from there. Without it I would never have started MochaSpoke bicycle café and met some friends, connections and advertisers, it’s just a whole bunch of relationships that without it I wouldn’t have had. To sum up it’s a spring board to other cycling things.

    Website : http://mochaspoke.com

    A new cyclist cafe concept in Grenada, Caribbean.

    Think back to when you were a kid; tell me about your earliest memories of cycling

    I have asked my parents about it and I don’t seem to get an answer from them, but recall my first ever bike being some little, purple and had stabilisers on it. I would have been fairly young when we built a little ramp in the back alley behind our house and used to jump there, taking a real mean crash one time. Biking for me growing up was total freedom, I remember countless days of riding around with my friends around different neighbourhoods. Instead of being walking distance from home now I could be like blocks and blocks away, on my own or with friends. That’s the greatest memory I have of a bike when I was younger.

    I remember having two bikes, a Nishiki and a Miele. The Nishiki was a 10spd bike and the Miele, a mountain bike. After that I had a GT Timberline mountain bike for quite along time, that one took me into my university days and I used that of a kind of commuter bike. When I lived in the Caribbean I actually took that bike with me and that was my mode of transportation. I then got into road biking and that’s when I got my first road bike, which was an Argon 18. I then got rid of both those bikes and now I’m riding a Trek Madone and for my commuter type just get around bike, I have a Rocky Mountain urban bike.

    How does cycling fit into your life today?

    I have traditionally been a marketing guy, that’s been my background and then a few years ago I transitioned into more marketing/fitness consulting, but of course being a passionate cyclist, I tried to get work that revolves around cycling. I have done a lot of consulting and writing for many cycling companies and running lovingthebike, which is my lifestyle cycling blog. However we are transitioning again to something new, a bicycle cafe in the Caribbean of all places and I am partnering up with a semi pro triathlete, who lives there.

    So why Grenada?

    We used to live on the island of St Kitts for 3 years back around 2003 and my wife and I have missed it ever since. We had been thinking about a move back to the Caribbean, but didn't know where to go, it's not super easy to pick an Island and just go there, there are a lot of hoops to jump through. We thought Bonaire, the Dutch Caribbean island, was it but decided against it in the end too many hoops!! We had actually gone to Grenada a few years ago, really liked it and had some contacts there. At the same time, my soon to be business partner sent me an email saying he had an idea, setting up a bicycle cafe and so it was fate. He has come up with an idea that was exactly what we wanted to do and so Grenada became the place.

    I have always wanted to be a car light or car free person, where I don’t have to rely on a vehicle and biking as a family has been a goal for quite a while. We live here in Austin at the moment and of course it's a great cycling city and also great for commuting. However where we live it's a little bit hilly and the roads leading out to anything like grocery stores or shopping are not great. They are fine for me to road bike on, but I would never want my kids to be cycling along in the traffic, so we don’t get to commute as a family. Grenada isn’t the ideal bike commuting place, but where we are going to be living it's going to be fairly close to work, flat and has good roads for day to day stuff.

    Give us your best cycling anecdote

    Its not an anecdote per say, but for me everything in life revolves around a bike, its something that once you get involved in cycling and get involved with the industry and community it works its way into all facets of your life.

    What about meeting famous cyclists?

    Yeah well living here in Austin, Texas the home of Lance Armstrong, he is a little under fire these days, but I have seen him quite a few times and crossed paths with him out riding. Where I live in Austin it's on a nice little cycling route because it's a hilly loop off of the main road, so a lot of people take that. I also met him at an event and we got the chance to talk briefly.

    What is the biggest issue in cycling today?

    On the pro side at the moment the whole doping thing has blown up and its become the talk of anything to do with racing, leaving a little uncertainty in the sport. In my opinion there is no doubt in my mind that for the past 10 years many of the top cyclists who were competing were on something, to me it was like a known fact. Pretty much the top 100 cyclists in the world at that time were on something, which is just my opinion of course. However I'm shocked at how many people are in disbelief that this has happened and how people like Lance Armstrong have taken drugs to enhance their performance. That’s sports and how it is these days, which is really unfortunate and it sucks, but that’s the reality of it.

    On the other side, a non pro cycling type of perspective, I think the biggest issue now is safety on the roads. My biggest issue is I do not like seeing how cell phones have become almost synonymous with driving. I think that it's very unsafe and wrote a post about it recently called 'drop the phone' and I likened it to driving with a loaded gun in your hand, because it can really go off at any time. I see so many people driving who are distracted now because of this. Today there are more cars on the road so it becomes an unsafe place for cyclists. Bike lanes are a nice helpul thing to have, but I really think it comes down to driver and cyclist awareness. Cyclist doing things to keep themselves safe, but drivers doing things to keep the road safe i.e. paying attention to what they are doing.

    Who or what is your Cycling inspiration?

    I have always ridden a bike, I guess where I grew up in Canada that was the way a lot of kids got around, so that’s how it started and it has continued as I got older. I was living in St Kitts and my best friend there was a local guy, he had got into road bike racing, so of course being friends with him, I wanted to see what the fuss was all about. He had a nice road bike and I would jump on it and very quiclly I was hooked. I would say he's the reason why I am a road cyclist and his name is Royston Stevens my motivator to get started.

    Now as far as an inspiration goes, I love to see the older cyclists that are still pushing hard and riding strong. They motivate me to know that as I age, there is no reason why I can’t continue being as strong a cyclist as I am now. At my age now I am in better shape than when I was 20 years old, due to cycling. Just knowing that in my 50’s, 60’s 70’s I could still be fit and cycling is a great thought. There is a guy here in Texas his name is Dex Tooke, around 65 years old and is amazing. He just actually competed at the weekend and he completed a 360 mile bike race. Where I hear things like it's just totally inspiring. I think with cycling because there is less pressure on your joints you can do it as a sport as you get older.

    Have you achieved any cycle milestones?

    Austin is the home for Livestrong and always hosts the biggest event. I think they do it in 4 different cities across the united States each year. I don’t do a lot of charity rides, but I just decided that LiveStrong was going to be the one that I was going to take part in, which I have done for the last 5 years. I think this year its around 100 miles and it’s a chance to get involved with people to raise money for a good cause and a get together for a big ride.

    Has Lance Armstrong tarnished the LiveStrong brand?

    That’s a good question we'll see, its going to be almost a test as it is coming up this weekend in Austin. All this news blowing up is interesting timing, but when it comes to LiveStrong there are so many die hard LiveStrong people that are involved or have supported not because of Lance but because of what they do. There are of course a group of people who do support it because of him and I think most of them are such hardcore fans that he could do anything and they would still love him. However there is going to be a percentage of people that are shocked about what Lance did and say not support anything he is involved in including LiveStrong. So I think it is going to have some negative effects, but I don’t think it will hurt them too much.

    Finally, if the world were completely cycle friendly, where would you go?

    Another good question, of course there are a lot of places I would like to cycle, but for some reason the first one that comes to mind is Italy and France, maybe because I know that it has got great mountains and a good cycling tradition/history. My family just wants to go on a vacation there, so I would take a nice long cycling trip through parts of France and Italy and no doubt take in some of the Tour de France climbs.

    1. John Jones says:

      Darryl you sound like you are living the dream, I would love to be in the Caribbean.

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      • Darryl says:

        Thanks John, well it is something that I love and want to do….and I hope everyone who reads this article take a good look at what they personally desire and do what they can to move in that direction. Thanks for reading this article and be sure to come see us in Grenada sometime soon.


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