Find some time to ride today

When I meet people from the DC family out on the trail, the one question I get the most is “How do you know Big Jonny and how did you end up writing for the site?”. I am reminded of this story every year around this time, and today seems like the best day to share it.

I always try to adhere to two rules when writing a post. No politics and nothing too heavy. I am going to have to make an exception here and get a little serious.

I have known Jonny for about six years now. Before that I was just a fan of the site and only knew of BJ through our fantastic bike community here in Arizona. But I never really hung out with the man. It isn’t hard to keep tract of the years we have known each other.

Six years ago our friend died.

His name was Kyle, and if you have been reading this site for a while you may have stumbled across his name. We were  close acquaintances and riding buddies at best. I had never met his family, knew his birthday or any of the things close friends know. But the conversations we had and the rides we shared make me proud to call him a friend. He was an original member of the Drunkcyclist crew, and he was a hell of a guy.

When he passed, you could feel the sadness move through our cycling community like a tidal wave. We were grieving and we were going to handle it the only way we knew how. Ride and drink. The call went out over this web site and via word of mouth that there was going to be a memorial gathering. Leave whenever you want, ride whatever you want. Just get to the top of South Mountain. I met up with Jonny and a small group of like minded vagrants at the trailhead and we rode the National trail up the hill. We told stories of our friend and we talked about his favorite trail that we just happen to be riding on. It was never discussed but it seemed like we were all riding at a parade pace, a slow march in memorial to our fallen friend. It was one of the most memorable rides of my life.

When we reached Dobbin’s Lookout it was an amazing sight to be seen. There were people convening from everywhere. Mountain bikers coming up trails, roadies coming up the road, and non riders in their cars. I liken it to when you see one ant on the sidewalk then your eyes focus and you notice that there are now 50 ants. They were coming from all different directions as if they were materializing out of the desert.

Waiting for us at the top was Kyle’s family, a minister, and a keg of beer. The Family said some words and the minister facilitated some amazing story telling. We shared stories for who knows how long. We laughed about our friend’s shenanigans and grown men cried. As I looked around at all these people that came here to pay homage to their friend, there was one common theme. He was just a really nice guy that would do anything for his friends. My thoughts turned to my own impact in this world. How many people would show up if I died tomorrow? Would anybody say these amazing things about me?

At that time, I was a broke, angry, and out of shape loser settling into my position under the bell curve of society. I was living beyond my means and talking shit like it was my job. In short, I wasn’t a very nice person.

This moment was a tipping point point in my life. That evening, as I sat on a rock overlooking the city, everything changed. It may sound over simplified and cliche, but that day I vowed two things. To live my dreams every day and to just be a nice person.
Fortunately, I have kept in touch with Jonny over the years and it has eventually brought me here to you guys. If you have a DC 10th anniversary jersey you will notice a name and some dates on the back. This has been the story of that man. If you are in AZ and find yourself riding up South Mountain road, look for the little memorial across from the ranger station. Stop and pour a little water out for the cactus that’s there. I do it every time.

Our friend was only around for a short while but his impact will be felt for a lifetime. Make time today to go ride, to think about your friends, and to appreciate life.

-Thanks for the life lessons brother. See you at the end of my ride.

spanky

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About dirty biker

I am a fan of singletrack, singlespeeds, single malt, and single women. Tempe, Arizona, USA

27 thoughts on “Find some time to ride today

  1. “Time to ride”? Way ahead of you, pal. And everytime I turn a crank I think about the dear departed. I’ve always been funny that way.

  2. Read this post over coffee this morning. I made it a point to take time out of studying today to go for a ride and remember all of those dear friends and loved ones who we can longer ride with but are constantly with us when we are riding.

  3. Awesome. I did acid last night and held it together completely. I read this fine tribute to Kyle and I get all teary eyed and start to get unraveled. Insane. Thanks and RIP young son.

  4. i’d say this is one of the best posts i’ve seen on DC. i had a sneak preview last week that had me bawling.

    i rode today too.

  5. thanks. i often need inspiration to ride off the previous night on sundays. that hit the spot

  6. we live our lives in respect to those who’ve passed. i remember why i ride everytime i go out. KB lives in every stroke we pedal, my friend. by the way….i rode past Frito this morning, before i recieved your txt, i just felt an urge. see you later this week.

  7. It was the perfect post for Sunday morning, Dirty. I rode today and loved every minute of it. Thanks, sincerely.

  8. …props for deciding to make a difference for yourself because that’s when you make a difference for the rest of the world…

    …a lotta folks never do…

  9. Thanks for the post brother, I was out on the trail today gettin dirty in honor of Kyle, r.i.p.

  10. Did get out today, rode some nice roads. Thought of this dude Kyle that I never knew… but I might has well have… there’s a little bit of him in me, and everyone else who loves the two wheels and loves the beer at the end of the ride.

  11. You’re telling me 15 people looked at their life and commented after this post???
    Really???!!!!
    Wow. You folks need to ride more. lj put it plainly. Cheers to Kyle. We all enjoy the end of the ride.

  12. Rode today before getting on the interwebs. I remember Kyle, cool cat that came through the tent at the 24HITOP on the DC squad. I earned my nickname that year, for 16 hours or so of sitting and counting laps for a bunch of people I was glad to meet. Thanks everyone.

  13. Had a stellar fall ride myself today. My old friend Bouty was in my head for some reason. R.I.P. to all of them…

  14. I was honored to be offered a pair of KB’s old riding shoes some years ago. Although I did not think I could fill them appropriately enough. Ride on good buddy. A tip of the pint and a turn of the crank.

  15. When I lived in Vegas rolled into this shop and this dude was hey bro have you heard bout drunkcyclist, I was like nah, about good 6 years ago
    went home looked it up and wow connected. Think he moved to Texas
    but like everyone who rides we are connected by foward movement, aka BIKE
    R.I.P bike bro, I think the same, will anyone remember me? sometimes after a very close call on the road.. peace all and ride everyday knowing the cog of life :)

    Joe
    Oregon

  16. Awesome post Dirty. RIP to your bro, and good on ya for the pumpin’ the positivity in life. Lost my best friend last year, and even though the only bike he ever rode had a V-Twin, I still wear a Harley headband on every ride so I know he’s rollin with me.

  17. Had a SOLID autumn ride with thoughts of a friend who just put down his old K-9 friend. This post is what IT is about. LIVE!

    R.I.P. fellow cyclist. Fellow lover of fun and beer.

    Buck
    PA

  18. I had the kind of ride today that would have had Kyle looking like the little kid that just got off the roller coaster.

    Rock on.

  19. no doubt we miss you KB. a few of us here gave Frito a hell of a run with Kyle towing the line.

  20. Thanks everybody for reading and the great feedback. I’m glad we could all get out and ride that day. I had actually wrote this a year ago and was hesitant to post it. I didn’t want to be a bummer. But i think the main point is to just ride and smile, and don’t forget the people that have touched your life along the way. This community of bikes is a great thing and is truly a gift. What would you be doing if you didn’t have this bike addiction..probably not having as much fun, thats of sure
    see you guys on the trail.