Switching gears from one two-wheeled passion to another
ANITA ELASH – The Globe and Mail
This continues our series called The Splurge, where we take a look at how entrepreneurs have spent their money on indulgences – purchases that may be interesting, fun, satisfying or enjoyable, but not necessary!
Information technology developer Leonard Adams has never been one to do things in half-measures.
So when he took up cycling last July, he bought not one but four bikes made by one of the most prestigious bicycle manufacturers in the world.
The Pinarello-brand bicycles, a favourite of professional cyclists and those with an eye for Italian style, cost Mr. Adams more than $20,000 each – an outlay that he says has transformed his life.
The once-stocky co-founder and managing partner of King City, Ont.-based Direct IT Corp. has lost 22 kilos (48 pounds) from his 1.8-meter (5 feet 10 inches) frame and doubled his strength in just nine months.
He has registered to compete in six long-distance races over the coming cycling season, starting next month. They include the annual 128-kilometre CEO Challenge with Tour de France legend George Hincapie in Greenville, S.C., and a 171-km. loop through some of the steepest terrain in the Italian Alps.
“I love what cycling does for my shape, and I love what it does to my mind. I’m much happier, I have much greater self-esteem, it’s very empowering,” said Mr. Adams, 53.
“The bikes are absolutely incredible machines,” he added. “They are works of art as well, and I feel very connected to them.”
Cycling is not Mr. Adams’s first passion on two wheels.
An accountant by trade, he shepherded his first company, the business accounting software firm Longview Solutions Inc., toward annual sales of $40-million.
Mr. Adams put some of his earnings from that company into riding high-performance motorcycles. Although he focused on group track riding rather than racing, he spent about $300,000 over seven years to purchase 25 motorcycles.
Mr. Adams left Longview in 2003 and helped to establish Direct IT three years later. Direct IT, which designs software to help municipalities manage and maintain infrastructure, has grown steadily since. Sales totalled $1.1-million last year, and Mr. Adams said he expects they will nearly double this year.
He said that he enjoyed the speed of his high-performance motorcycles and that the sport helped him fulfill what
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