Just like weddings and funerals, at the memorial ride you see people you haven’t rolled with in years. You might not even know the person being memorialized, but it’s a chance to show solidarity with fellow riders and greet those people you have not seen in so long. All too often, the late rider passed due to a collision with a vehicle or a crash caused by hazardous road conditions. But sometimes, it’s just natural causes.
Just before Christmas last month, Steve Bowen, late owner of the Palos Verdes Bicycle Center, passed due to a heart attack suffered while on a ride. I didn’t know Steve, just knew of him, and how well respected he was in the local cycling community. I’ll defer to the Wankmeister to provide a description of what happened to Steve, as well as a
personal tribute. (20140515 – Well, that link no longer works. The Wankmeister apparently removed from his blog material that he put into his book – Cycling in the South Bay. Damn, he IS a wankmeister.)
A memorial ride for Steve took place today in lieu of the normal Saturday Donut Ride, leaving from Riviera Village in Redondo Beach at 8am. There were hundreds of riders who took part and the group had a police escort from Malaga Cove Plaza in Palos Verdes all the way to the PV Drive West intersection with Hawthorne Boulevard near Point Vicente.
If this had been the normal Donut Ride, by this point I would have been thoroughly abused and shelled, just trying to hold a wheel, any wheel. But not today. Today is about staying together and celebrating a life.
The ride continued along PV Drive South and up the switchbacks to Marymount College, then continued around Palos Verdes on PV Drive East and North. I imagine that Steve knew these roads as intimately as anyone else on the ride today, after all, his bike shop was up on top of the Palos Verdes Hills that we just circled. At the end we were back in Redondo Beach, socializing over coffee and tea generously provided by and at Catalina Coffee.
For my part, I reconnected with a fellow rider named Dan Martin, whom I have not seen in 10+ years. Dan was/is a natural rider and regularly dished out helpings of hurt to me and most everybody else in our group rides. Dan dropped out of riding when his kids were young to concentrate more on raising them. The kids are starting high school and, like most teens, probably don’t want much to do with the folks other than as taxi drivers or portable ATMs, so Dan has some free time now to resume riding. He doesn’t look any different than I recall from back then and probably will be serving up short order pain pancakes in the coming months.
Click here for a set of pictures from the memorial ride today.