HOK #009 – Brian Wheeler


Meet Brian Wheeler.

“My name is Brian Wheeler – ironic really as I’m a bike mechanic! About four years ago I was living in the Glebe, working as a barista at the Wild Oat, and I decided that I needed to make a change. I sold everything I own at the Great Glebe Garage Sale, I packed up my bicycle and a trailer and I took off. I was going to go west, to visit my brother in Trenton, and then just carry on until something happened and I wanted to stop. I guess the ‘something’ turned out to not be what I imagined, because just before I left I met a lovely lady. She came into the shop, and when she found out I was leaving she said something like “it’s too bad you’re leaving, I always thought you were kinda cute!” Timing! I’d been joking that I would make it to Smith Falls and do something crazy like fall in love. Well, I didn’t even make it that far before it happened!

I did still head out on the trip, and got as far as Manitoulin Island before there was a problem with one of my spokes. By pure luck I encountered the one and only bike shop on Manitoulin Island – I didn’t know there was one, and it wasn’t advertised anywhere as the owner was trying to sell it at the time. I stopped in there, borrowed the tool and fixed my bike. The owner turned out to be this fantastic guy who had been running the shop since he was 12. We got along great, and I loved Manitoulin so I thought “what if I work for free for the summer in return for him feeding me and letting me stay in a little cabin on his farm?” So I did. I learned the trade there. I finally decided to come back to Ottawa, and to the woman I had met – we’d been talking the whole time I was away. When I got back I applied to work with another Westboro store as a bike mechanic, and then the next summer my current job with Right Bike came up. I live just across the street, so I don’t even ride my bike to work. This neighbourhood is the best. And it has the best Butter Chicken at Aljazeera Restaurant on Wellington West. But don’t tell anyone!” Collected by Kate Settle

Humans of Kitchissippi is a special street photography project designed to introduce readers to some of the people who live, work, and play in Kitchissippi. Each instalment of HOK contains three elements: a photo, a name, and a quote from the subject that reveals a little bit about who they are. View our growing collection of humans right here.

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