PORT COQUITLAM, British Columbia (BRAIN) — Bert Lewis, founder of Norco Bicycles and Live to Play Sports, died Oct. 7 with family at his bedside. He was 77.
Lewis founded Northern Cycle Industries—now Norco and Live to Play—in 1964 in Burnaby, British Columbia, with the goal of serving the bicycle needs of western Canadians. In the company’s early days, Lewis and his team assembled about 10 bikes a day for the local market. Today, Norco and Live to Play produce more than 100,000 bikes a year for about 25 international markets. Live to Play also distributes more than 100 cycling brands throughout Canada.
“Bert was a pioneer in the cycling industry, building deep and lasting relationships at home and abroad that helped lay the foundation for the global industry we are a part of today,” said Live to Play president John Williams. “He was an extremely successful and generous Canadian entrepreneur whose pragmatism was balanced with fairness and honesty in all his business dealings. He believed in the honesty of others, and his word was stronger than any written contract. He always deflected credit for the success of the company and was quick to spread the praise to others.”
Skip Swain, vice president of sales and marketing at Live to Play, said: “I had the pleasure of working for Bert for the last 34 years. Although, in recent years, he was not active in the business day to day, he was deeply involved in the sport and business of cycling. There was not a question I could ask where he did not have an answer based on his wealth of business experience. He was a true entrepreneur and I learned something from him every time we talked.”
Lewis is survived by his wife, Marlene; son, Alan; daughter, Carolyn; and four grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to leukemia and lymphoma research at the Canadian Cancer Society.