In September 2012 I received the news that Fayaz from Bridge Cycles had passed away. My brother let me know via a skype IM from Arizona – “Hey. Fayaz passed away”. He passed away from cancer. My dad also passed away from cancer. I hate cancer.
I started cycling in 1992 after helping my mom crush cans for Bergvliet High recycling at the finish of the 1992 Argus. After that I probably spent more time at Bridge than I did cycling. I would spend hours there looking at the stuff I wanted, the bikes and all the accessories. Fayaz was a legend – I distinctly remember him selling me my first helmet at the back of the shop. Back then Bridge was more of hardware store than a cycle shop. The place was filled with the aroma of samoosas and the airwaves were filled with the sound of an old coke fridge which I think may have run on diesel or something! Fayaz always had time for me and my brother, my mom and dad. He was patient and gentle and generous. He always had time to devote his full attention to us. He always had time to chat and to have a laugh about things – he was always interested in us – he would always ask after my mom and brother. The years flew by. Bridge Cycles has grown into an amazingly successful and professional business, and over the years Fayaz, and Fazal too, were always there – always the same, always dependable. Thank you.
I cried when I found out Fayaz had passed away. Even now as I type this I cry. I cannot adequately express what he meant to me. Death itself is a very unnatural thing. Humans were never created or designed to deal with it. But we do have the ability to remember.
I went round to Bridge one evening in January this year and spent the better part of two hours with Fazal and Aneesa recalling stories from the last 20 years, and remembering Fayaz and who he was as a person. It was probably one of the most meaningful conversations I have had in my life. Fayaz was more than just the owner of my LBS. And apart from being the very special person that he was, he was someone who had shared life with me, my brother and my mom. He is someone who took an interest in me and my cycling before I had even finished one Argus. He was someone who was constantly there, and was constant in “being Fayaz”.
I rode this year’s Argus in memory and honour of Fayaz. I didn’t know how better to honour him and his family. There was a moment of silence before the start. The music stopped and thousands of people stood remembering those in the cycling community that had passed away. I cried again.
I had a good ride. I did my best. Not ideal starting in G – but I posted a respectable 3h07. Fayaz, thank you for everything. Thank you for what you meant to so many people. For being a different kind of person, a unique businessman and cycle shop owner. Thank you for caring and for being genuinely interested in us. Thank you for being a family man and and a friend to the cycling community. I miss you.