If you ride a bike in the Seattle area, your life has been touched by Jerry Baker.
To name just a few of his accomplishments: Jerry was a founder of the Cascade Bicycle Club, started the Seattle to Portland (STP) event ride, and was instrumental in getting the (now renamed) Jerry Baker Memorial Velodrome built.
I only first met Jerry about two years ago. WSBA president Gina Kavesh and I had hatched a plan to create a web resource about the history of cycling in the Pacific Northwest. The vision of the web site was, among other things, to help answer questions Gina was fielding such as “why is the race calendar the way it is?” Jerry’s knowledge base was essential to make the vision happen and we met with Jerry to start to get his knowledge and experiences written down. Alas, we weren’t able to make it happen in time.
My favorite memory of Jerry happened during the opening day celebration of the new Cascade Bicycling Center. Everyone was socializing, and Jerry and I had some small talk. I mentioned to him that I was going to visit Ventoux Coffee on my way home. After the event, I rode up to the coffee shop, and just as I was sitting down, Jerry walked in: “Mind if I join you?”
While sipping our coffee drinks we chatted for fifteen minutes about…I don’t remember. As we chatted I do remember thinking “how is it that I even register on his radar? This is Jerry Baker!”
Based on the memories the speakers shared at today’s event, that was one of the things that made Jerry so special. Everyone registered on his radar; he recognized the value of everyone in his life, which in turn made all of his relationships special.
RIP Jerry Baker.