The Washington cycling community feels a lot smaller today. Jerry Baker, the godfather of northwest cycling, passed away in Philadelphia after a brief illness.
I first met Jerry in 1994 when I joined the staff of Washington Bikes (then Northwest Bicycle Federation). He phoned me during my first week on the job to introduce himself as a board member and welcome me to the organization. I liked the man immediately!
Not long after that, Jerry dropped by the office to chat about bicycling. He painted a picture of the Washington bike scene in great detail for me. He told me stories about his cycling life, the early days of Cascade Bicycle Club, helping to found Washington Bikes, his involvement in cycling events, and more. When I asked him how he knew so much about the bike world, he casually acknowledged that he was in the thick of it.
And he was in the thick of it. Jerry’s vision, leadership and passion helped shape the bike scene in our state. Washington Bikes, Cascade Bicycle Club and Marymoor Velodrome Association all claim Jerry Baker as an important founder to our respective organizations. He has influenced so many facets of bicycling, from bike clubs and bike advocacy to bike racing and cyclocross. For northwest cycling, he was THE MAN.
Tributes, an outpouring of affection, thanks and sadness at the loss of Jerry are appearing in social media. He leaves a hole in the hearts of many. Our thoughts are with wife Spot and family.
Ride on, JB.
You can read a Cascade Bicycle Club profile on Jerry Baker from earlier this year.
Even long after he earned the moniker TheJerryBaker in response to the frequent question, “are you The Jerry Baker who… (enter big accomplishment here),” he found time for supportive phone calls. The day the new Fremont Peak Park was featured in the Seattle Times, Jerry called me. He was the first one to congratulate me after the article. I’ll remember that kindness for all of my days. I got a call from the Jerry Baker of STP and Marymoor Veledrome fame. It was a deeply felt honor. The world is poorer today without TheJerryBaker. RIP TJB
That’s a wonderful memory, Jack. Thanks for sharing.