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Val on Bike
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Aaron's Bike Repair Group Shot
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Easter Sunday 2009 Cargo Bike Ride
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Val with Bike Blender Cargo Bike Ride
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Panda with Aaron and Aden
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Panda with Cellphones
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Panda with Jordan and Aaron
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Val Kleitz in Sculpture Park
By Alice Jurak
On August 10th, 2011, Val Kleitz, co-founder of the Seattle Cargo Bike Ride and former owner of The Bikesmith, passed away at the young age of 51.
Val Kleitz, born June 8, 1960, and his close friend Aaron Goss founded the Seattle Cargo Bike Ride in the summer of 2005. The first annual ride started at the pig in Pike Place and ended at Lincoln Park in West Seattle. Each year, the Seattle Cargo Bike takes place on most major holidays and ends at a city park for a community potluck. Riders show off all the cargo they can carry, including food and drink and other people, as well, using only their bikes!
Non-cargo bikers are encouraged to join the ride and non-cyclists are welcome to meet the arriving cyclists at their picnic destination.
The next ride is this Labor Day, September 5th, 2011. Goss is dedicating this, and all following, ride to Kleitz, who missed only a couple of rides since the start. For more information on the ride, visit Posse's on Broadway Labor Day 2011 Cargo Bike Ride.
Kleitz owned The Bikesmith shop in Wallingford until it shut down in 2006. He then began working with Goss at Aaron's Bicycle Repair, where he came in every Sunday. Throughout his time at Aaron's Bicycle Repair, Kleitz turned a corner of the shop into a replica of The Bikesmith. He also took a job at Seattle Bike Supply as the Rock Shox/ SRAM technical warranty service manager. Kleitz loved the utility aspect of bicycles and believed in their power as a practical form of transportation, whether it be for navigating through congested city streets or hauling cargo between destinations.
After hearing that Kleitz's had been diagnosed with cancer in 2009, Goss, along with sponsors Redline Bicycles and Pike Brewing, held a raffle to raise money for Kleitz's medical bills. Throughout his battle with cancer, Kleitz was still active in the Seattle Cargo Bike Ride and other biking events. Kleitz was surrounded by his family when he passed.
A wake will be held for Kleitz, with a date, place and time to be announced.