“I have always enjoyed not just riding with, but spending time with the bike riding, kilt wearing, rum aficionado Nik Olah. Nik is a great story teller of events and adventures he has been a part of. I always enjoy hearing stories of GenCon, The Safehouse, and travel. I am glad that we got to share numerous experiences over the last couple of years: riding in Chicago, West Virginia, and Montana as well as rides around Columbus. One of the things that I really admire in Nik is that he is very thoughtful of others. Always considering and thinking about other people, whether it be hanging back on a ride so that no one rides alone or inviting friends to join him on a crazy adventure.”
“Nik is definitely the ultimate sweep! He is so patient and so kind when it comes to Yay Bikes! rides! He will stay with the last person, whether they decide to finish or to stop (in which case he will wait with them until their ride comes). He is willing to give up his ride to ensure that everyone is taken care of and has a good experience. I am not that selfless, so he is someone I really look up to. Nik is so optomistic! His positive attitude around all that life has thrown his way just amazes me!”
“Soon after moving back to Central Ohio, I discovered Yay Bikes and quickly learned that cyclists didn’t always wear spandex. Some wore jeans, dresses or, like Nik, kilts. Nik was usually the Sweep and made sure everyone made it back safely. He taught me that being a Sweep isn’t just about knowing the route or being a good wrench. You also need to make the most novice cyclist comfortable, and he excels at this. He always has a story to share, be it an insight on the law or rum or music or games or strategy—whatever it is that connects. His actions remind me that leading isn’t about being up front. That by meeting people where they are, seeing the humanity in each of us, without judgement and without bias, we ride together.”
“Nik Olah is an inspiration to me to appreciate every day and every one I come into contact with, be present with them and value them as unique individuals who make the world better because of them being in it.”
Nik is The Ultimate Sweep! He has never dropped me—ever! On my very first Century ride he chatted away, about everything and nothing, to carry me the last 15 miles, to mile 100! I don’t think I would have made it (with a smile) without him!
“When I moved to Columbus, I only knew one person. I don’t make friends easily, so that’s how it stayed for quite a while. But after years of exploring the area alone, I finally decided to join a bicycling group (Yay Bikes!) with hopes of meeting other people. My first time out was a little rocky. So I skipped their next ride. Then I decided to give it another try. There was this one guy in the back who seemed friendly. We chatted a bit. That evening I told my partner, “I did talk to this one guy. I guess I’ll go again next month.” And that guy was there again, in the back, keeping an eye out for others, and generously taking time to explain who we were and what we were doing to the drivers and pedestrians we rode by. I hung back with him because it felt like a safe place to be. Over the next few months, I would show up, look around, and think, “Okay...that guy is here. I guess I’ll stick around. Maybe I’ll try to meet other people today...but at least I can talk to him. It will be a good ride.” After about a year, I actually made some friends. Like I said, I don’t make friends easily. But now I feel like I have many. I feel like Columbus is my home. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. This is exactly where I want to be, and these are the people I want to spend time with. But I wouldn’t have tried over and over and over again to get beyond my natural reluctance to open up to strangers if I hadn’t felt safe and comfortable because of that guy near the back of the pack. Well, right now that guy needs me and the rest of his friends to hang back. I don’t know if he would have asked for it, but he never needed to—we all consider it an honor. Cancer sucks more than any hill, than any headwind, than any thunderstorm. But we can look after one another. We can generously offer our time. We can provide a safe place. We all have to get up that hill under our own power, but we never have to do it alone.”
“Since the moment I first met Nik he's always been there helping out, encouraging me, smiling and generally just being a good friend. Over the course of several years and countless miles ridden together, my family and I have gotten to know him better and our bond of friendship has grown deeper as a result. Nik always finds a way to help out, be it volunteering to be a sweep on a ride, house/dog sitting for us when we are on vacation or just being here when I need some company. It means the world to me to count him among my friends. He is truly one of a kind!”
I have known Nik my entire adult life, which he has profoundly influenced for the better. I met him in the early 1990s, when we hung around the University of Toledo's radio station, WXUT, in the wee hours of the morning gleefully playing found noises and audio samples. He taught me about this new thing called the Internet and how to use it. He was also the first vegan I ever met, and he patiently explained what that meant. Through the years, Nik's creative, gently iconoclastic, playful, patient spirit helped me see and engage the world with joy and compassion. We discovered a shared love of hockey, and this photo was taken when my Capitals were visiting Columbus in 2011. It has been an honor to be able to call Nik a friend.