Losing Leslie -- A Sad Week for Cycling

August 25, 2012

It's been a sad week for cycling, but if you think I'm writing about Lance Armstrong, you would be mistaken. I'm deeply saddened by the death of Leslie Bohm, one of the best people I've met since taking the helm at Adventure Cycling seven years ago.

Leslie was a one-of-a-kind guy who could make anybody feel good, with his big smile and positive personality. Most recently, he owned and ran Catalyst Communications, which was a pioneer in direct marketing for the bike and outdoor industries. Earlier, in the 1970s, he started up Eclipse Bags, which became a producer of front packs, panniers, and other products for bicycling and motorcycling. He was an avid cyclist and bike traveler, who rode on many continents, from North America to Europe to Asia. In fact, Leslie was one of the first Americans to ride through China when it reopened to tourists in 1981.

You can read more about Leslie's illustrious life in this excellent piece in Bicycle Retailer, but one other highlight was how he was so instrumental in building the bike industry and community. Of course, he was a generous supporter of Adventure Cycling. But more importantly, through his work, he helped spur the growth of independent bicycle dealerships -- those great shops where we buy the best in bikes and gear, and where people who are passionate about cycling tend to gather. He also helped build up organizations that have made biking more pervasive and powerful in America. He was a founder of Bikes Belong, the bike industry's trade association that has become such an influential advocate for putting more people on bikes. Ever the innovator, he sparked the idea to have 1,000 shared bikes at both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in 2008, raising the visibility of cycling even further.

I will miss Leslie's contributions to the growth of cycling, but most of all, I'll miss Leslie's infectious good spirits and the joy he brought to the world. If you're in or near Boulder, Colorado, on September 2 and want to pay homage to a terrific person who did so much for biking, you could do no better than attend Leslie Bohm's memorial service. Farewell and thanks for a wonderful life, Leslie.

Photo of Leslie Bohm used courtesy of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News.


JIM SAYER is executive director of Adventure Cycling Association.


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