March 28, 2024

Family, motorcycles and football come together for REDBLACKS’ Head Coach Bob Dyce

Edmonton Elks vs Ottawa REDBLACKS June 30, 2023 PHOTO: André Ringuette/Freestyle Photography

When Ottawa REDBLACKS’ Head Coach Bob Dyce is around football, he has become known for his intensity, demand for hard work, and steady improvement.

Whether a game or practice, Dyce traditionally arrives at TD Place every day riding his motorcycle, his preferred method of transportation. His passion for bikes began when he was a young kid living back home in Manitoba, and steadily progressed as time went along.

“My sister had a little dirtbike with a lawnmower motor, and it had no shocks on it,” Dyce said. “She used to whip around on that thing all the time, but I was too young for it. My neighbours also always had dirtbikes, and I always said that one day, I was going to get a motorcycle.”

“One day” took a considerable amount of time to transpire. Working his way up the Canadian football coaching ladder, Dyce had stops in the CJFL and CIS before making his way to the CFL. He spent most of his time focusing on becoming a better coach, but in the past 15 years, finally found time to invest in other hobbies.

“Life got in the way, and it wasn’t until I was about 45 that my friend Sheldon happened to be talking about motorcycles,” Dyce explained. “I didn’t know he had one, but he told me that if I really wanted one, I could rebuild one for pretty cheap.”

Dyce spends hours working on his bikes, whether it’s upgrading parts, or changing things to better suit his style. Typically, he buys a motorcycle that has been in an accident and fixes it up, which in the past, has revealed some hidden gems, including his favourite bike he’s ever owned.

“I had a 2009 Harley Davidson CVO Springer,” Dyce said. “When I look back over time, that’s a bike that I regret selling. It was really nice. It was blue and silver, and it was a little bit old school with a cool paint job and a big fat back tire. That was my favourite.”

Since joining the REDBLACKS in 2016, Dyce has been out for rides just about everywhere. He’s gone down to Prince Edward County and the Thousand Islands area, and up to Mont Tremblant, fully taking advantage of an opportunity to ride the winding roads that didn’t exist in his time coaching in Saskatchewan.

“One of the things that’s great about the Ottawa area is that there are so many unique areas,” Dyce said. “I don’t have one ride that I go on all the time, I like to explore. As long as you know there’s going to be a gas station along the way somewhere, I just point my bike in a direction and go.”

Game day is no different for Dyce. Although it can create stress and a sense of pressure, he uses his time in the morning to put some kilometres on the bike and put himself in a calming environment while he thinks over numerous scenarios that could play out later in the day.

“On the morning of a home game, I might get out for three and a half hours,” Dyce said. “I can think about the process and the game out there, but it’s just a relief sometimes. It’s about the wind in your face and relaxing, that’s what I love about it.”

Oftentimes, Dyce arrives at the stadium long before the players, but occasionally, when a practice is held elsewhere, Dyce opts to ride his motorcycle to the field, rather than hop on the bus.

It’s one of the rare times players see their coach whipping around on his bike, but it quickly becomes a point of interest for many of them, with questions flying around for Dyce to answer.

“We have conversations about it, and I often use analogies of when I’m rebuilding a bike with the players,” Dyce said. “They see the bike there, but a lot of times, they don’t realize it’s mine. Once I point it out, we start talking about different things. You find out some guys ride dirt bikes, like Devonte Williams is always asking me for the keys. For a lot of them, it’s a neat hobby to have, but for me, it’s just a passion I have.”

As much as Dyce loves spending time on the open road when he gets home to see his family, it’s his favourite part of the day. His three kids, wife, and two dogs are his life, and his sense of pride and purpose.

“I certainly value my time with my family,” Dyce said. “The motorcycles started because I was so focused on football, but you have to have a life, as well. Nothing means more to me than my family, and I’m blessed to have my wife and three fantastic kids. We’ve always had a dog or two, so my time with them is something I’m really passionate about. I’m more proud of my family than I am of football.”

Just recently, the Dyce family gained a new member. The house was already busy with Kingston, Dyce’s bullmastiff, but it got even crazier with the addition of Shaka, a now nearly four-month-old Doberman puppy.

“The good thing about having two dogs is that the older one can help train the younger guy,” Dyce said. “We’ve been blessed with dogs who have fantastic demeanour, and they have all gotten along. He’s showing the young guy the ropes, although he’s getting worn out [by the young guy’s energy]. We’ve always loved