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Cycling legend and Olympian Steve Bauer with his Cadillac near his hometown, St. Catharines, Ont. (Kevin Van Paassen/Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)
Cycling legend and Olympian Steve Bauer with his Cadillac near his hometown, St. Catharines, Ont. (Kevin Van Paassen/Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)

My car: Steve Bauer

Why it matters that this Caddy can carry seven bikes on top Add to ...

Steve Bauer

Profession: Former professional bicycle road racer; team director of Team SpiderTech powered by C10

Age: 52

Hometown: St. Catharines, Ont.

Notable achievements:

  • 1984 Olympic silver medalist, road race
  • Competed in 11 Tour de France races. Top finish, 1988, 4th
  • Only Canadian to ever win a stage and maintain the overall lead at the Tour de France
  • Won 14 yellow jerseys over his career at the Tour de France
  • Canadian road race Champion - 1981, 1982, 1983
  • Awarded the Governor General's Meritorious Service Medal in 1994
  • Inducted into Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame, April 2005
  • Inducted into Canadian Sports Hall of Fall, November, 2005

Currently

More related to this story

Team director, Canada's first professional continental cycling team - Team SpiderTech powered by C10; aiming to compete in the Tour de France in a few years

Organizes custom and VIP bike tours; he's currently at the Tour de France with a group of sponsors and CEOs

*****

His name is synonymous with cycling. Steve Bauer competed in 11 Tour de France races and captured a silver medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics.

Nowadays the 52-year-old coaches Canada's first professional continental cycling team, Team SpiderTech. But Bauer doesn't ride any more. He traded in two wheels for four. He drives a 2011 Cadillac CTS wagon. And on race days, he travels closely behind his riders in the peloton.

What does a Cadillac say about you?

It's a baby boomer's high-end car. It's sporty and fun to drive. And with a bigger motor - the 3.6-litre motor - it accelerates pretty quickly. It handles nice - not like a super-tight sports car on rails, but it's positive in its driving.

A CTS wagon is really practical for bike racing because you have an open back and you can reach into the trunk area to access water, equipment, spare parts, wheels and rain bags that the riders may need. We've put equipment on the roof; we can get seven spare bikes on the top.

So during a race each rider in the race has a spare bike. The CTS is a beautiful car to have in the caravan.

I'm not a young guy any more, but Cadillac is no longer the old boy's car. It's a pretty sporty vehicle to have in your driveway.

You're passionate about bikes. Are you passionate about cars, too?

Through the years I was definitely passionate about cars.

I took an interest in old timers when I was in Europe. I loved the old Mercedes SL convertible, but I never purchased one. I never fulfilled my passion by actually buying one.

But eventually I purchased a pretty hot little sports car called a Mazda RX-7 - the twin-turbo version with the Wankel motor. I used to describe it as a souped-up go-kart because the vehicle was so light and the power-to-weight ratio was so good.

It was such a fun car to drive from 0 to 140 km/h. It had great acceleration, super-tight handling, but it was very, very challenging to drive. You could get out of shape fairly easily because of the weight of the car - it was so light.

You had to be very careful, especially when the twin turbo was kicking in at the highest power output. It could be troublesome but it was a fun car and I really enjoyed driving it. I wish I still had it.

Eventually, I needed some cash and I decided it was time to move on. At least I survived it and it didn't kill me.

Do you ride a motorcycle as well?

I got my motorcycle licence shortly after I got my driver's licence. I was 17.

The other vehicle I was pretty excited about was a two-wheeled one. It was an '82 Yamaha RD350 liquid-cooled, two-stroke motorcycle. It was the one bike I did own. I had it for quite a while.

That thing was the motorcycle version of the RX-7. It was super-quick, very nimble and very light. Super fun to ride but again, be careful.

Now, I don't have a motorcycle - I'm too busy travelling. I don't have that much time to ride - not even my bicycle. There are some beautiful sport bikes out there; maybe some day I'll get back on one.

Any mishaps with the RX-7 or the RD350?

I did accelerate out of a turn that I actually knew very well with the RX-7 and it got loose and came off the road. I found myself skidding across a parking lot. It was one of those moments - those ... moments where the car bit back and I lost control of it. But nobody was hurt and everything was fine.

What's your best and worst driving memory?

The worst one would have to be when I rolled a car down an embankment in Tuscany, Italy, in a little Renault Clio rental car. That was pretty bad.

I was doing some trip research and it was late at night and I underestimated a corner that I thought was continuing to go straight, but it bent pretty tight and I ended up off the road and rolled down an embankment into a field.

The car ended up on its roof. I opened the door and walked away from it. I didn't even have a scratch - it was pretty phenomenal. I went back to the rental car company the next day and they gave me another car! That's Italy.

The best driving experience is yet to come. I'd love to get on a track some time with a fun race car - that would be one of my bucket list things to do.

What was your first car?

The first car I ever bought? That's a tough one. I should know it.

The first car I recognized as a cool car was when I turned pro and went to Europe. I bought a Saab 900 turbo. That car was a wonderful car, but ... I got a lemon because I blew three motors. The injection system wasn't functioning properly and they continued to replace the engine - the upper block where the pistons were overheating. Eventually they figured it out, but by that time I had sold the car.

The next car I got was a lot more stable - it was a beautiful Mercedes 300 wagon in Europe. It was super powerful, super quick, super smooth and practical. It was a great vehicle that ran forever.

Steve Bauer competed in 11 Tour de France races and captured a silver medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. He drives a 2011 Cadillac CTS wagon.

What do you listen to on the road?

I'm an old rock and roller. I still put on classic vinyl XM radio once in a while. All the guys on the team kid me about it.

That was my era in high school and early university - The Who and rock and rollers of the past. I still enjoy that music.

If I can bring you the keys to any car what would it be?

How about a McLaren [Mercedes MP4-26]single-seater Formula One car that's street legal. That's the one I'll need to take on the track.

The interview has been edited and condensed.

globedrive@globeandmail.com

Follow on Twitter: @PetrinaGentile

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