The Best Things in Life are Free


I met Simon by random chance while on a bike ride two years ago. My intention that day was to ride alone for 112 miles in preparation for my race at Ironman Canada. Riding a bike alone for 7 hours is lonely. Simon changed that.

While ascending a steep hill at mile 15, Simon pedaled past me with the confidence and speed only known to experienced cyclists. His uniform revealed he raced with an impressive team, far beyond my own skill level.


As he rode past he tapped my shoulder as a friendly “keep up the good work” gesture. I responded in my usual competitive way, by racing him to the crest of the hill. Simon appreciated my tenacity. He introduced himself and we became instant friends and riding buddies for the day.

By mile 50 Simon shared many of his racing stories. He bared his bicycling blunders and told of his racing triumphs. By mile 70 I was laughing so hard and having so much fun I couldn’t remember pedaling the distance.

During the ride Simon helped me improve my cycling skills by sharing his years of knowledge. We stopped a few times to practice racing drills and techniques for my betterment. Throughout the day Simon offered his time, his help, and his knowledge freely. Without ego, Simon selflessly shared himself with a stranger.

When I got terribly tired at mile 100 he let me draft in his slipstream to avoid the headwind. At mile 105 Simon kept my spirits high and encouraged me to stay strong. At mile 110 Simon summoned my remaining strength and raced me to the finish. Mile 112 marked the end to our random ride.

Simon passed away December, 2008.

I only knew Simon for 7 hours. But his impact will last a lifetime. Remembering my day with Simon is a wonderful illustration of how the best things in life are free.


  1. Coco December 31, 2008 at 1:38 am

    Awesome that you got to know Simon for those few hours and that he made such an impact on your life. Simon…you rock. I salute you….


  2. Lance December 31, 2008 at 3:35 am

    This story reminds me that we never know when the end will come – for any of us. And I think about how I would want to be remembered – and having something like this written about me – would be one of the most powerful experiences, for me, in a life well-lived. Simon did that – what an impact! And what a wonderful tribute – and reminder – of what, really, is important in life…

  3. Iva December 31, 2008 at 4:27 am

    Terrific proof that we have no idea the impact we make on others.

  4. Clever Dude December 31, 2008 at 5:31 am

    Oh man, such a heartbreaking ending to such an uplifting story!

  5. Four Pillars December 31, 2008 at 5:42 am

    Sorry to hear you lost your friend. He sounds like he was a great guy.


  6. Kathleen December 31, 2008 at 5:55 am

    Life is what you leave behind and Simon left you a wonderful memory of him. We should always remember to pay it forward.

  7. marci December 31, 2008 at 7:23 am

    Reminds me of that saying: People can come into your life for a reason, for a season, or for a lifetime, etc….

    How much we can learn from and enjoy one another in such a short space of time! Fitting tribute! The joy of sharing time!

  8. FrugalNYC December 31, 2008 at 8:34 am

    Great way of remembering Simon. We all learn lessons, however small, in our daily lives. I’m glad to hear such a great memory recounted by you. We all meet random and wonderful people in our lives, it helps to recognize it when it happens.

    I truly agree with you, the best things in life are Free!

  9. Fabulously Broke December 31, 2008 at 10:42 am

    Wow.. he sounds amazing. What a guy. And now he’s on this blog forever. ๐Ÿ™‚ And in our minds.

  10. Hayden Tompkins December 31, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Oh, Squawks. I’m sorry. I think this is a wonderful memory to share, though.

  11. fathersez December 31, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Simon has left his legacy. And you have immortalised it. I am truly sorry to learn about such a great person’s demise.

  12. Bryce Neckels December 31, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss…Im sure you made an impact on his life to, as you do with so many other people in this world…Thank you for your voice. Bryce

  13. Sagan January 1, 2009 at 10:22 am

    That is very sweet and I’m so sorry to hear about it… its nice that you got the chance to meet him, even for a short amount of time. Sometimes those people who we only see once and that sort of thing have the biggest impact on us.

  14. […] The Best Things in Life Are Free […]

  15. Kerry January 4, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    I just wanted to thank everyone for your kind words. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. […] their debt problems (again), they were in a rut emotionally. They needed someone to come along with an inspirational story and some motivation to succeed. They also let their bodies go a bit and needed to lose some weight. […]

  17. Value For Your Life January 5, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Hey Fox,
    Thanks for sharing your story, it’s a great example of the power of giving selflessly to others. Life can be unfairly short, but it sure sounds like Simon was the kind of person who really lived every day–more than some people would in a whole lifetime.

  18. HIB January 12, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Simon sounds like an awesome person. You were certainly fortunate to be around him as I’m sure he felt the same way about you.
    The Present is a Present, Cherish It!

  19. This and That: Another week, another giveaway January 15, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    […] Fox reminds us that the best things in life are free with a poignant […]

  20. miles January 27, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    people treat you so much differently when its inside the bike community. i love it. do anything you can to help. this is an all around sportsman

  21. clare January 28, 2009 at 1:33 am

    Its amazing how a short, one off meeting can leave such an everlasting effect on people. You never know who is going to touch you, or who you may touch in your lifetime.

    A wonderful story

  22. Emiliano Jordan January 28, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    People like Simon make the ride worthwhile. I didn’t know him but congratulate him on making you feel welcome in a often times very “cold shoulder” sport. Sorry for the communities loss.

  23. ceeque January 29, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Thats a very inspiring and moving story. Its people like Simon who make living worthwhile, the hidden gems of our lives that give us a sparkle. Bless him!

  24. Puerhan January 31, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Wow! I read the article expecting to to go on and make a list of all the useful things to learn from the story… and suddenly it ended, beautifully, at 320 words! Eloquence through and through. Thanks!

  25. HP February 1, 2009 at 3:07 am

    Gr8 story. I’m sorry for your loss. Thumbs up!

  26. rob February 1, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    The best part of this story is you choose to share it. Thanks

  27. Bhagwant February 4, 2009 at 12:23 am

    Oh man, such a heartbreaking ending to such an uplifting story!

  28. D MAN February 6, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Awesome story.. I couldn’t put it any better Iva

    Iva December 31st, 2008

    Terrific proof that we have no idea the impact we make on others.

  29. Marcus February 7, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Wonderful story. I didn’t see the end coming. Very touching.

  30. Amy April 23, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    This was a wonderful story to come across today. Reminding us (me) to live every moment. Simple pleasures, powerful story.

  31. […] love a good story they can relate too, so find the human interest element and get blogging. In The Best Things in Life are Free I shared a very short story about a very long bike ride, and my readers […]

  32. Blaine January 5, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Impactful story, plus the huge impact Simon had made in that brief moment. What a great guy.

  33. Kimetra August 7, 2012 at 7:15 am

    What a wonderful story for you to share. Thanks for reminding me to take my time with people. I don’t do it often enough. Like the saying, “You miss every shot you don’t take” — I miss every connection I haven’t made. Maybe thinking of the OTHER person is the remedy for shyness, fading into the wallpaper, not putting oneself out there to BE a gift. Like, what if Maya Angelou had kept herself to herself?

  34. John Morris April 29, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Kerry, when I was in high school (more years ago than I care to admit), I sang a song in choir titled “Down the Road”… there was a line in the song that said:

    “And I hope that where I travel, they will say of me one day
    That it somehow made a difference that I passed this way.”

    I’m so happy that my understanding of success has cahnged from power and popularity to significance.. it’s all about “making a profound difference in another’s ability to experience their life more joyfully, more abundantly, so they can fulfill their life’s purpose.” (I added the quotes because this is my personal mission statement.)

    I’m also happy you met Simon… it sounds like he made a difference in your life. The world need more like him.

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