Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Ed Pavelka at RoadBikeRider suggested that I post the following to the reader feedback forum for that newsletter. Unfortunately, it didn't fit. Rather than try to figure out just what to cut to get it down to 520 characters (or whatever else the limit was), I'll put it up here.

Eugene A. Sloane died on March 29, 2008

On Christmas day, 1971, I got my first 10-speed at the ripe old age of 10. A little later in the day, I was sitting at the kitchen table when my father plunked down a brand-new copy of The Complete Book Of Bicycling and told me that after I'd read the first half of the book (the nuts and bolts, chains and gears, bearings and "spanners" part), I could ride on my own. Until then, my riding on the new bike would be accompanied by him.

I read it and loved it. It wasn't an imposition. I kept reading and was introduced to the Tour de France, cyclocross, Louison Bobet, Eddy Merckx and cycling history in general.

I referred back to that same (but increasingly tattered) copy of that book for years, and it still sits, slipcover mostly intact (though heavily yellowed) on a shelf in my parents' house. When I helped them move a few years back, I couldn't resist the temptation to sit and flip through the pages all over again.

At 69, Dad doesn't ride as much anymore, but he still has a Bike-E that he can take places where most people wouldn't dare. I started riding seriously again over 20 years ago.

I have often wondered how many people got their start in cycling under the remote tutelage of Mr. Sloane. I never knew him, never corresponded with him, but I have often recounted the way in which he (with a firm nudge from Dad) altered the course of my life for the better.

Tailwinds for him, always.

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