If you are Golden Cycling Club member, or if you have ever ridden in Golden BC, chances are Jeremy Harris has done more to improve your riding experience than most of your riding buddies! If life is a stream, his flowed, nudged rocks, exposed roots, moved boulders, and shifted the landscape to carve an inimitable riding experience in Golden. The legacy of Jeremy Harris is the high water mark deposited on every trail, every event, many young riders, our town culture, and all the memories we share with each other. Like water, Jeremy Harris flows everywhere!
The reason we even have the word “acceptance” in the common vernacular is to help us all come to terms with the inexplicable: events in life that evade an answer to the question, why? And for all of us who rode, laughed, and built trail with Jeremy, we will nonetheless come to accept his passing for the tragedy it was. We all reach acceptance in different ways. We slowly disentangle the roots of confusion and make peace. We will miss Jeremy. Perhaps, a small step in coming to terms with losing Jeremy is to celebrate his cycling legacy in Golden.
Let’s get in the WayBack Machine and travel to circa year 2000. Jeremy began working to support cycling in Golden through Summit Cycle. However, when Jeremy got a hold of Summit, it was not your ordinary bike shop. Ostensibly, there may have been bikes there. However, the story most people tell you is there was way more slinging coffee and conversation about biking than transactions and “cha-ching”. If you had the privilege of knowing Jeremy, this wouldn’t really surprise you! Jeremy knew cycling and was happy to bring you along into the cycling culture with a “come one and all” attitude. Jeremy brought cyclists together in common conversation throughout his years in Golden. If you rolled on two wheels, you belonged.
One of the first Tuesday group rides this Spring was a snowy slog up to 5K on the Schacher. There were a couple of new folks joining the ride, along with some of us shaking out the cobwebs of a long winter. We would have surely felt discouraged to pop out of the trees at the top of 5K, all alone, if it were not for Jeremy waiting there, smiling and armed with some wise crack to ease frustrations and distract us from sore legs, wet feet, and tired lungs. With Jeremy leading, we would ride together, all smiles, to catch the lead group. Jeremy could have been at the head of the lead group that night. Instead, he valued the collective experience over the call to the front.
Jeremy spent most of the last 20 years in Golden, with a short stay in New Denver. During this time, he was always active in the Golden Cycling Club. Jeremy put his time and effort where it was needed. Not only was he supporting the lifestyle he loved, at the same time, he was an endless source of inspiration and motivation. He showed up to trail days, development meetings, forestry meetings, races, social events, and regular club meetings. Jeremy was a popular coach among the hundred or so kids in the Spring GCC Bike Camp. On those kids, including his son, he left an indelible mark and helped cultivate appreciation for the outdoors and cycling.
Jeremy gave his time freely and generously to cycling projects in the community. Mt. 7 Psychosis is perhaps the most prominent and popular event to bear Harris trademark design. Jeremy was integral to the creation of the Mt. 7 Psychosis course as well as instrumental in executing the event. With Jeremy and the GCC at the helm, Psychosis piqued the attention of huge title sponsors like Red Bull. In myriad ways this was the event and trail network that put Golden free-ride lines on the international mountain bike stage! Again, thanks to our friend, Jeremy.
It will not be a revelation to anyone; Jeremy thought big! He had a big smile and big ambition. On the passing of his close friend, co-worker, and riding partner in 2014, Jeremy suffered a great loss. As the ripples of this loss spread and upset the community, Jeremy began to think big! How about a climbing trail from the bottom of Mt. 7 to the top? Could anyone conceive of a bigger, more daunting project than the Schacher Trail? Without regard for naysayers, Jeremy had a vision for the trail and his friend’s memory. He had blinders on for any obstacles impeding a bottom to top climbing trail. It could be achieved. Period. And it would be done. And it will be done. Because now Jeremy has handed the torch to the rest of us to finish what he started. It will be finished.
It would be impossible to cover the volume and importance of Jeremy’s contributions to the cycling community in a single web post. He was our president upon his passing. He left with us lessons learned of community diplomacy in the way he modeled mediating between diverse and sometimes competing interests: always to the benefit of cycling. In fact, as I write this, I feel it may be insulting to not cover all Jeremy’s contributions in greater detail. Jeremy was much more than his endless contribution to cycling in Golden. He was a father, a husband, a friend, and an inspiration to others. As the Golden Cycling Club and as Jeremy’s friends, we promise in this peloton of life, we will never drop you! We will always be looking for you at the top! Ride on!
If you are interested in making a donation to support the wonderful family Jeremy has left behind, there is a donation page set up in Jeremy’s honour.