this has been a tough week. brett was killed by a garbage truck on monday. when i heard about it on tuesday morning, i felt like had been punched in the gut. i cried a lot tuesday. i met daniel that morning and we rode out to sauvie island. it was the most beautiful morning on the island. the fog was thick and the sunshine was breaking through above us as we rode talking about death and what it felt like to loose people out of the blue. riding along feeling the sun on my back, i felt like brett was there with me. later that day we all met where brett was killed to have a memorial. it was incredible to see how many people brett touched. i have lost 4 close friends to cycling accidents involving cars and every time it rips me apart, but somehow strengthens my feelings for the cycling community that we are all in. every one i have known who has passed on has a specific memory that will be with me forever. the first time i met chris lillig was when i was a junior in iowa bonking on a training ride when chris rolled up and gave me a push up the hill to catch the pack. his smile was infectious. blockhead was a big influence in my life.  i remember long rides with dan talking about old punk music and general anti-establishment conversation. both chris and blockhead were super fast on a bike and represented the true hard working spirit of the cyclist. i met kristine when i was messengering in portland. she was a brilliant and kind person. she had a graphic arts background and she helped me with the first ira ryan cycles graphics. we were just getting to know each other when she was run over by a semi on the job in downtown portland. and now brett. this picture was taken on a ride in forest park with matt hall, brett and me. we happened on him on leif erikson on his single speed and he rode the rest of the ride with matt and me. his fierce spirit charged up the hill ahead of us. over the last couple days, i have talked to a number of people how recounted brett’s competitive drive that pushed him to race hard even when the rest of the riders have thrown in the towel. 2 laps to go and brett was still charging up the climb with a fire in his eyes. that is the spirit that lives on. what would brett do? ride your bike, feel the sun on your shoulders, the wind on you face, the leaves under your feet and don’t forget why you ride. this is how i honor the memory of brett, kristine, blockhead and chris. 

5 Responses to “brett.”

  1. Darren P Says:

    Ira, that photo has a haunting quality to it. There is a rider up the road, but you can’t really make out their face. There is a shimmer of white light above him. The trail is both inviting yet intimidating, with the angle of the horizon and the bike and person blocking the way. The ground looks wet and slick and rider’s shadow stretches toward the viewer. Is Brett protecting us from danger ahead or leading us bravely forward? Or both? In any case, the photo certainly has more mystery given the tragic turn of events. Godspeed Brett. I never knew you but I promise to join with thousands of other Portlanders to make this city safer for all cyclists.

  2. Caroline Says:

    Gorgeous portentous photo, Ira.

    I was watching this video with a friend who never met Brett last night, and he said, “Whoaho, that’s heavy. Brett is climbing a mountain, and stumbles, but his friends cheer him up over it, and he’s gone.”

  3. bikeiowa Says:

    Take care of yourself out there Ira, you are loved.

  4. the mostly reverend Says:

    i’m sorry about your friend, ira. this has been a very bad year for bicyclists everywhere. your story is a touching tribute, and i intend to steal it and post it on my blog, if you don’t mind.
    folks can’t have too many reminders of the fleeting, fragile and precious nature of life and friendship.
    take care, man.

  5. Brett Says:


    Ok done.

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