Having recently learned that there can be such thing as too much praise, and that cycling advocates may be more humble and desire less abject flattery than your average bear, it is with some trepidation that I introduce Fulton.
His involvement in cycling occurred at a formative stage in the local advocacy world, and not where most people would expect on BC's South Coast. The City of New Westminster is both progressive and slow-moving, with physical, political and development characteristics that make it simultaneously ripe, and challenging, for cycling improvements.
So it was helpful for someone of Fulton's temperament — calm, patient, wise and, thankfully, persistent — to join forces with what became a peculiarly influential and formative group of advocates that helped the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition (the VACC, now HUB Cycling) find its footing as a newly established organization.
Then again, some people merit ranting and raving, because of their exuberant personality. Their larger than life presence, and the value of that.
On the other side...well, still waters run deep, as they say. That's Fulton. There are many contributions he has made to cycling culture in Metro Vancouver, to progress in New Westminster, to the VACC/HUB organization, that must be recognized, and perhaps his inclusion in this history, this very profile, will suffice.
Because even just the story of how he came to advocacy should be relatable to just about everyone.
When I became a parent and my children were, I guess, about six and four years of age, I felt sort of... I don't know if it was a mid-life crisis, or some sort of longing.
I would drive to the community centre to take fitness classes, and after a while I thought, "why I am doing this?" It seemed strange to leave work, get in a car and go to a fitness centre to exercise, and I was sort of looking for something to keep me active.
And I decided one day, you know what, I'm going to see if I can bike to work.
It's less about the advocacy he's been a part of — though obviously there's that — and more about the decision he made that just about anyone can make. If you're committed enough to change.
Or just taking a chance. Fulton tells the story of how a chance set of circumstances led him to be recruited, essentially, to sit in on some meetings. Otherwise he might have volunteered with an international development agency, also a very worthwhile cause. But selfishly, that wouldn't have been right. For us, here in the region, trying to make transportation safer and more accessible.
And he's done it in his own quiet way. Not with exuberance, flourishes or political might, but with action. Real action.
I'm not really a vocal advocate, but I think what I do is, just by being on the road on a bicycle, I'm advocating, being a role model.
And knowing that my view is right, that I belong on the road, that really reinvigorates me when I hear people complain about cyclists, because I know that they're wrong. I deserve the same road space as an automobile user.