Remembering Gary Strauss

Gary in the Tulips.  Photo by Arnold Chin.
There is sadness in the bicycle universe this week as many of us mourn the passing of Gary Strauss.  He died peacefully surrounded by his family on Monday after a three-year battle with cancer.
Gary was passionate about bicycling.  Not only did he enjoy biking himself, but he took great pleasure in introducing others to the activity.  Gary was the ultimate ride leader, and many of us had the pleasure of joining him for a bike ride through the tulips of Skagit Valley, the climb up to Sunrise at Mount Rainier, or one of his other famous rides.  As a fellow West Seattleite, I would occasionally see Gary on my bike commute.  He never hesitated to slow down to my turtle pace for a few minutes to chat, revel in the day and depart with a smile.
But Gary did more than ride his bike.  He advocated for safe places to ride and he served several terms on the Bicycle Alliance’s Board of Directors.
“Gary was a one of a kind powerhouse—a unique combination of a skilled bicyclist and a passionate and articulate advocate,” recalled executive director Barbara Culp.  “He took charge and helped direct one of our strategic planning processes, which helped hone our focus on safety and education.”
Gary and daughter Marika at 2008 Ride of Silence.
 Generous in many ways, Gary also joined us for Transportation Advocacy Day in Olympia, hosted a Life Member party at his home, staffed tables for us at outreach events, solicited for auction donations, and introduced dozens of his friends to the Bicycle Alliance and our annual auction.  As the day of the event neared, we would receive calls from people asking if they could sit at Gary Strauss’ auction table!
Gary was a friend and inspiration to so many folks, and his Facebook and Caring Bridge pages are filled with loving comments.  Appropriately, a “Tour de Gary” ride has been organized for Thursday evening and is timed to arrive at his memorial service.  Details can be found here.
Thank you so much for being a part of our community, Gary.  We will miss you.  Pedal on, dear friend.
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