Mar 032004
 
Authors: Justin Goldman

“The first five laps are for those who’ve passed away,” reads a

note by 70-year-old Don Brown.

His list of bicycling attempts and pulling feats were scribbled

on a sheet of paper given to a parks and recreation worker.

Included in the note were a few words of reflection in memory to

his lost friends.

“Lap 1 is for my dear friend in the Los Angeles Wheelmen Bike

Tour Club, Dave Smith,” the letter said. Brown’s writing was

scattered and hard to read due to his excitement for his birthday

celebration.

Brown’s first lap at Rolland Moore Park was successful as his

legs pumped quickly on the green, rusty bicycle that moved so

slowly. His return to the parking lot found him surrounded by a

shining sun and a few friends instead of the usual mob of cyclist

fanatics.

“Dave was a dear friend of mine and was chosen as the Amateur

Bicycle League of America’s No. 1 cyclist in 1964 for the state of

California,” Brown said after finishing his first lap.

“Unfortunately, he died a few years ago.”

“Lap 2 is in honor of John Bauman,” the note continued.

Unfortunately, Brown did not complete his second lap around the

park as he expected to do. On the final stretch, the trailer he had

worked so hard on collapsed under the weight of two massive

365-pound slabs of steel donated to him by the Colorado Iron and

Metal Company.

If Brown was upset from his broken trailer, he did not show it.

His outward enthusiasm for cycling was as high as ever, talking

with his two friends and a few park employees that helped him move

the massive steel slabs and scattered screws.

“I started working on (the trailer) in August of last year, and

it was 200 hours of work,” Brown said. “I had several failures to

the point where I wanted to give up.”

But he did not. He never has before. In his lifetime, the Silver

Fox has covered over 150,000 miles, including 10,000 miles in one

year as a bike messenger back in 1950.

“It created my passion for doing things outdoors,” Brown

said.

Although he did not start riding a bike until later in his

teenage years, it was a passion that has been with him for the last

half-century, and has only become stronger as time goes by.

“At age 15, a guy taught me how to bicycle,” he said. “Then at

age 16, I became a bike messenger.”

One of the two friends present for Brown’s weight-pulling

attempts was a much younger Dave Thoms. One of the premier

neon-sign producers in Northern Colorado, he is also an avid biker

and has been on cycling trips with Brown in the past.

“He is totally enthusiastic about bicycling,” Thoms said. “He’s

amazing.”

Brown tried hard to promote his event to local media outlets in

honor of his lost friends and 70th birthday, but very few showed up

to watch the amazing Silver Fox cyclist.

Brown’s other friend, Chris Winn, is an event planner for the

New Belgium Brewing Company.

“Notice it’s the trailer that’s broken, but not the man,” Winn

said.

He snapped a few photos of Brown kneeling next to the broken

trailer before going back to work.

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