Friday, May 7, 2010

So long, Gail

Picture Copyright Graham Watson.

Gail Ryba, Ph.D., was the co-founder of the Sandia Commuters Club at Sandia National Lab where she was engaged in fuel cell research for several years before going full time into advocacy for clean and sustainable lifestyles. She went on to form the Greater Albuqurque SpokesPeople (now BikeABQ) and the Bicycle Coalition of New Mexico. She was a League Cycling Instructor and most recently the Executive Director of the New Mexico Coalition of Clean and Affordable Energy (NMCCAE) and the recipient of the 2009 League of American Bicyclists Phyllis Harmon Volunteer of the Year Award for her contributions to bicyclist advocacy, an award that should have been presented to her at the 2010 LAB Rally in Albuquerque. Most recently, Gail spearheaded the grant proposal that just bore fruit in having the NM Dept. of Transportation partner with the BCNM to provide more bicyclist safety training in New Mexico.

Gail died today, Friday May 7th, after a prolonged battle with cancer.

Dan Baker of Santa Fe, who was the BCNM webmaster for quite a while, has suggested a memorial in the form of a bike fund for Gail and Tom's daughter Lynn. If you are interested, contact Dan:

Dan Baker
1909 Proctor Ct.
Santa Fe, NM 87505
dan AT dtbakerprojects DOT com

Gail's husband Tom Robey has indicated that Gail would be honored with remembrances to the Bicycle Coalition of New Mexico (PO Box 3326, Corrales, NM 87048) or Gerard's House (PO Box 28693, Santa Fe, NM 87592). Services will be held on Saturday, May 15 at 5:00 pm at the United Church of Santa Fe, 1804 Arroyo Chamisa (corner of St. Michaels and Arroyo Chamisa), Santa Fe, NM; Rev. Talitha Arnold presiding (505.988-3295). Please consider supporting Gail's memory by walking, biking, or carpooling!

I last used this photo of Lance Armstrong winning the 18th stage of the 1995 Tour de France, with Graham Watson's permission, when I was helping organize an AIDS multiisland ride in Hawaii back about a dozen or so years ago. Like many others, I had just lost a close family member in the prime of his life to AIDS and found the picture compelling.

Fabio Casartelli, a promising teammate of Lance's on the Motorola squad, had just lost his life in a bad crash during a high speed Alpine descent during the 15th stage of the 1995 Tour de France. Like Fabio, Gail has been taken from the cycling community and loved ones all too soon.

Lance, a young teammate to Casartelli, went off on a flyer on Stage 18 and dedicated the win to his teammate. Like Lance, we all need to go on a flyer and dedicate our success in cycling and sustainability advocacy to Gail Ryba.

There is a "Fans of Gail Ryba" page on Facebook where there are some very nice pictures of Gail.


dtbaker61 said...

thanks for posting Khal...

We will miss Gail, and now it is time for us all to pick up where she left off on so many good works. I would be honored to collect funds (written to Lynn Ryba) with the intent to use in buying bikes for Lynn as she grows.... to know that all of us cyclists remember and valued Gail's tireless efforts for us all.

Khal said...

Dan, I assume you will be at the memorial service and I'll be handing you a check for that fund.

dtbaker61 said...

yes, I will be there.... and speaking in the Service part of the evening, so you'll be sure to figure out who I am!

Khal said...

Is it Lynn Ryba or Lynn Robey or doesn't it matter?

dtbaker61 said...


I dunno if she HAS an individual savings account yet, but legal last name is robey....