March 15, 2016
Celebrating Two NW Cycling Legends
Two cycling legends of the Northwest have passed away in the last year, Jerry Baker and Len Francies. Both men were extraordinary advocates for cycling — one for road and one for mountain biking.
Baker and Francies tirelessly supported change and inspired us to move forward with bicycling initiatives that got us outside and on our bikes.
(1942 – 2015)
Jerry Baker, an accomplished bicycle racer, cycling advocate, mentor, father and husband, passed away suddenly from Acute Myelogenous Leukemia on Sept. 10, 2015 at age 73. He was a humble, omnipresent, quiet influencer and a well-respected voice who made everyone feel like part of his family.
Baker’s career began as a mechanical engineer at Boeing. Along with starting several businesses, Baker’s accomplishments in Washington’s bike community are endless.
Beyond his involvement with Cascade and Washington Bikes—now known as the Cascade Bicycle Club and WA Bikes—Baker also founded the Seattle to Portland (STP) bike ride in 1979, and he is still the only person to have ridden every STP since. His family will be riding the STP this year in his honor.
He also created the Marymoor Velodrome at Marymoor Park in Redmond. Last fall, it was posthumously renamed the Jerry Baker Memorial Velodrome in his honor.
“If you want to see his accomplishments, that’s easy, look around,” said Phil Miller, a friend and International Cycling Official. “If you want to see his legacy… look around at the people around you… his legacy is the community.”
By Briana Orr
Cascade Bicycle Club
Communications & Marketing Manager
Originally published in October, 2015 Cascade Courier
(1958 – 2016)
Founding member of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, Len “The Legend” Francies, passed away Jan. 1, 2016, at the age of 57, while riding Grand Ridge Park in Issaquah, Washington.
His enormous volunteer contributions formed the foundation of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance and set the tone for the volunteer ethic that defines the organization today.
Francies’ contribution to Washington’s mountain bike community includes countless hours improving trail, training volunteers and being the driving force behind the U.S. Forest Service Chainsaw Certification program.
His nickname “The Legend” was earned by his zeal for tireless maintenance work, extra-long rides and camping experiences that taught the true meaning of mountain biking and community service.
For two decades, Francies supported Evergreen MBA with his expertise while consulting staff and volunteers about the importance of conserving land and maintaining trail access for everyone.
“He was a tireless mountain biking supporter and a generous contributor to Evergreen,” reported a staff member at Evergreen MBA. “A steward whose vision and foresight brought us many of the trails we love so dearly—and whose passion for keeping them clear allowed us to ride and enjoy them year-round.”
By Art Tuftee and Evergreen
Mountain Bike Alliance staff