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For Pete

Pete working on my 333fab

Pete working on my 333fab Cross Bike. I used to call him the “Bike Whisperer”.

Our community lost a gem on Sunday, Aug 30 in a freak cycling accident. All of us who knew Pete were devastated and heart broken by the news. Pete was one of the most loving and compassionate individuals I had ever met, and I, along with many other of his friends shared a special bond with him.  I was honored when his wife asked me asked to speak to Pete’s friends and family during his memorial services. Below is what I said…

For those of you who don’t know me I’m Martin; and I like to ride my bikes. It’s how I met Pete. It was long ago during one of the many rides he led for one of the many cycling organizations he’s been involved with. It was so long ago in fact, that I honestly don’t remember the exact ride. All I know is that he’s always been there – and that my life changed forever, as I’m sure it did for everyone who crossed, or rode, bike paths alongside Pete.

I immediately knew he was special because he made ME feel special. Because he made EVERYONE feel special – whether or not you rode a bike. I know my relationship with Pete was unique; but likely not any different than the relationship you may have had with him. There were, however, some things that we all had in common – He treated all of us with respect, kindness and a whole lot of love; he was there when we needed him… Inside that big frame was a wonderful and tender heart.

When I was working on the first edition of one of my regional cycling guides Pete was a constant companion. We rode hundreds of miles together through the streets of Arlington, Alexandria, DC and the gravel roads of Loudoun County. We rode trails in Virginia and Maryland. We rode alone and with friends; I’ll always cherish those memories, the laughs and the joy of spending that time with him.

Pete was more than a friend to us.

He was a passionate advocate – he rode the streets of DC with positive messages to promote safe cycling so that all of us could safely enjoy this past time we love so much. He cared deeply for the biking community, and he put that care into action. Before he left us he was in the midst of raising funds for a cause he cared much about, The #BeGood Foundation enriches communities by using bikes as a catalyst for healing, empowerment and evolution. I encourage you all to continue to support Pete’s efforts and donate in his honor…

He was a leader – we followed him when he led us on his rides; Up and down the steep “borrowed” hills or Arlington, the gravel back roads of Loudon county and the rough trails of the George Washington National Forest. We sometimes questioned his methods, but we always trusted him – we knew, no matter how crazy the ride, we’d all ride away with a great memory…

He was a trusted team mate – you could always count on him for support – there’s Pete in the pits with a wrench ready to fix our bikes or trail side with a Vuvuzela (you know that long, loud horn people use at soccer games? Yea…) – some didn’t quite appreciate that sound as much as he did, but we loved him for it 🙂

He was a master bike mechanic – Bikenetic’s lovable and huggable “chief pedaling officer and director of biker things…” You could always count on Pete helping you get back on your bike. I loved calling him “The Bike Whisperer” Quite honestly, I went to the shop on more than one occasion just so I could hang out with Pete, Jan and the guys…

He was an adventurer – he pushed the limits; the longer the ride, the better;

He was an inspiration to hundreds of riders in our region and around the country – evident by the outpouring of love and emotion we’ve seen these past few days, but most of all Pete was a teacher.

He taught us to be kind – even to those who may inadvertently hurt us – instead of an expletive he would say “have a nice day” – and he would actually mean it…

He taught us to be humble and enjoy the ride – we’re here FOR the ride – we should go for a bike ride.

He encouraged us to smile – because he always did.

He taught us to embrace our inner child – he loved “Hello Kitty.” He surprised me once, when months after he had repaired my bike, I was changing the tire and found a Hello Kitty bandaid on my rim – he knew it would bring a smile to my face, and I know that he left little nuggets like that for others in the same way. As a thank you, one time after a work trip to Japan, I made sure I stocked him up with more Hello Kitty stickers – honestly, it was just an excuse to go hang out with him.

He taught us to be playful – he swallowed jet planes in selfies, and shared those silly photos with us all…

He taught us to embrace danger, Pandas…

But most of all he taught us “that we are loved.”

PETE, YOU ARE LOVED! And we will ALL miss you, but I promise to embrace this grief and turn into love and work every day to treat others the way you did and to live my life like you did yours…

Ride in Peace amigo…

#WSGFABR