by Byron on Aug 12, 2011 at 8:24 AM

Sad news yesterday in my inbox. Aaron wrote

It is with great sadness in my heart that I bring this news to you.

My dear, dear friend Val Kleitz died yesterday, August 10th, 2011. He was 51 years young. He was born on June 8th, 1960 He worked for years on Sundays at my shop and turned one corner into The Bikesmith, his old shop in Wallingford. Here is his bio page.

He died of cancer.  As many of you know, he was battling it.  The end was peaceful for him.  He was surrounded by his family. There will be a wake soon and I will let ya’ll know time and place.

I am dedicating the next (and all following) Cargo Bike Ride(s) to Val.  He and I started the first Seattle Cargo Bike ride during Bike Summer 2005.  In that time Val only missed a couple of rides and most just recently.  Val loved the utility aspect of bicycles. The next Cargo Ride is this Labor Day, September 5th.  Meet at 20/20 Cycle on Capitol Hill. More info

Val built our Cargo bikes. The Bettie, Bettie 2.0, and 2.5 was his spec and work. He was a Go to Guy when I starting writing about Cargo and urban, utility cycling. As I wrote last night,

Every bike community has one. The mechanic that can fix everything who is also a historian. That was Val. He built our cargo bikes.

Val and I would debate topics at length, often on the side of the road, when we passed each other.

Hincapie 09: Vintage Wool and George Signature Bib Short

Hincapie 09: Vintage Wool and George Signature Bib Short

I think in these photos, the topic was Di2 or that QBP had bought Xtracycle. Possibly the Yuba Mundo. Val’s photos are on Flickr too and he’ll be missed.

Our thoughts are with those that knew him longer and better than we did, like the crew at Seattle Bike Supply.

More Val

See the Val tag for more posts, including the Best Shop Prank he pulled. Also, Cap’n the Pug was quite fond of Val too. Cause he had pecan sandies in those pickle buckets on his Dreadnought.

Yep, wants them Cookies

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Sad day for the Seattle bike community.  Val taught me a lot - such a great guy.

Agreed and I’m sure we’ll have good stories to tell during the wake.

Val was the best. He will be sorely missed.

Watch my interview with Seattle cargo bike pioneer Val Kleitz as he gives his first person account of cargo biking and his own highly customized bicycle. 

Thank you Aaron. Special thanks and hugs for planning the celebration of his life, the pics you posted and mostly, being a friend.

He was one of the truly good people. Dedicated to the bicycle community and the machines he loved.

He is irreplaceable, one of a kind and will be sorely missed.

That’s really all the words I can muster right now. Thanks to everyone who remembers him.

Connie Kleitz

Val will be missed for a good long time. I first met Val at the Bikesmith in Wallingford, my first real taste of what a bike shop should be like. I remember Val speeding on ahead after a stoplight turned green, pedaling the Behemoth furiously with his nuvinci hub, leather bucaneer boots, gauntleted gloves, and waxed moustache. God Speed, Val, and RIP.