Thursday, August 27, 2009

Trail Blazer

If you ride the Fern trail, you owe him. If you ride Tom Brown, you owe him. If you ride Cadillac, you owe him. If you ride nearly any trail in town, you owe him.

I remember when I started riding to work nine years ago, I would see him on his red Cannondale. He was a quiet guy and I had just started riding. I had the zeal of the newly converted and I couldn't engage him about riding, until I mentioned that commuted on Fern everyday. His eyes lit up and he told me that he was one of the designer/builders of that trail. He had hoped people would commute in the woods to work. Just before the famous Winn Dixie section of Fern fell to the bulldozer, he and I squeezed in one last ride. We stepped over felled trees and rode around the machines. He pointed out springs, plants, and all we were losing. I felt as though I was watching a man eulogize a friend.

Over the years I would see him sporadically on trails and at Cycling advocacy meetings. He was the one voice that all the tribes of cyclists, and the people we were trying to reach, respected. He never beat his chest, he never sought recognition, he just helped, worked, and smiled his way through the trying process of moving the greater good forward.

Let us not forget, he is a great cyclist. His exploits are legend. I once asked if anyone had ridden the pipe on the old Fern trail and the only response I ever heard was "I saw Harvey ride it once." That's before the stories of him getting lost in underwater caves, sliding down glaciers, and rafting rivers with Mingo in Alaska.

He is leaving us to take a job in D.C.. We have all lost a great light for the cause of all things cycling in Tallahassee. Hopefully he will make it back our way, but if not, we owe him.

"I was just thinking that of all the trails in this life, there are some that matter most. It is the trail of a true human being. I think you are on this trail, and it is good to see...."
Kicking Bird, (Dances With Wolves)

Thanks for everything John.